Postcolonial Literatures of Climate Change


Postcolonial Literatures of Climate Change investigates the evolving nature of postcolonial literary criticism in response to global, regional, and local environmental transformations brought about by climate change. It builds upon, and extends, previous studies in postcolonial ecocriticism to demonstrate how the growing awareness of human-caused global warming has begun to permeate literary consciousness, praxis and analysis. The breadth of the volume’s coverage – the diversity of its focal locations, cultures, genres and texts – serves as a salient reminder that, while climate change is global, its impacts vary, effecting peoples from place to place unequally, and often in accordance with their particular historical experience of colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as their ongoing marginalisations.

“Demonstrating the urgency of invoking novel epistemological approaches combining the scientific and the imaginative, this book is a “must read” for those concerned about the present and potential impacts of climate change on formerly colonised areas of the world. The comprehensive and illuminating Introduction offers a crucial history and current state of postcolonial ecocriticism as it has been and is addressing climate crises.”
- Helen Tiffin, University of Wollongong

“The broad focus on the polar regions, the Pacific and the Caribbean – with added essays on environmental justice/activism in India and Egypt – opens up rich terrain for examination under the rubric of postcolonial and ecocritical analysis, not only expanding recent studies in this field but also enabling new comparisons and conceptual linkages.” - Helen Gilbert, Royal Holloway, University of London

“The subject is topical and vital and will become even more so as the problem of how to reconcile the demands of climate change with the effects on regions and individual nations already damaged by the economic effects of colonisation and the subsequent inequalities resulting from neo-colonialism continues to grow.” - Gareth Griffiths, Em. Prof. University of Western Australia

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Russell McDougall, Emeritus Professor, University of New England (Australia), has published widely on African, Australian and Caribbean Literatures in English. His most recent book is: Letters from Khartoum. D.R. Ewen. Teaching English Literature, Sudan, 1951-1965 (2021).

John Charles Ryan is Adjunct Associate Professor, Southern Cross University, and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Notre Dame University (Australia). His most recent book is Introduction to the Environmental Humanities (2021).

Pauline Reynolds recently graduated PhD with the Chancellor’s Doctoral Research Medal, University of New England (Australia). She has published on Pacific history and Indigenous knowledges in the Journal of the Polynesian Society and the Journal of Pacific History.

List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors and Editors

Dear Matafele Peinam,  
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner

1 Introduction Climate Change as Critical Reading Practice
  Russell McDougall, John C. Ryan and Pauline Reynolds

2 “The Imagining of Possibilities” Writers as Activists
  Geoffrey V. Davis

3 River Writing Culture, Law and Poetics
  Chris Prentice

4 Which Island, What Home? Plantation Ecologies and Climate Change in Australia and Nauru
  Paul Sharrad

5 Island Life and Wild Time Crossing into Country in Tim Winton’s Island Home
  Stephen Harris

6 Islands Within Islands Climate Change and the Deep Time Narratives of the Southern Beech
  John C. Ryan

7 Refashioning Futures with Sargassum A Caribbean Poetics of Hope
  Kasia Mika and Sally Stainier

8 “Kāne and Kanaloa Are Coming” Contemporary Hawaiian Poetry and Climate Change
  Craig Santos Perez

9 Monsoonal Memories and “the Reliable Water” Reading Climate Change in Selected Malaysian Literature
  Agnes S. K. Yeow

10 Aswan High Dam and Haggag Oddoul’s Stories from Old Nubia Redefining the Line between Immediate Catastrophe and Slow Violence
  Amany Dahab

11 Caring for the Future Climate Change, Kinship and Inuit Knowledge
  Renée Hulan

12 Fictional Representations of Antarctic Tourism and Climate Change To the Ends of the World
  Hanne E.F. Nielsen

13 Ice Islands of the Anthropocene The Cultural Meanings of Antarctic Bergs
  Elizabeth Leane


Postgraduate students and established academics in postcolonial studies, comparative literary studies, critical plant studies, cultural geography, environmental humanities, postcolonial ecocriticism, and South and Southeast Asian ecocriticism.
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