Embodiment and the Non-Human in South African Afrikaans and English Urban Novels After 2000


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Afrikaans


My project will involve a translation and reworking of my Afrikaans dissertation into an English monograph. The dissertation questioned the usefulness of existing South African literary theory for interpreting the ways in which Cape Town and Johannesburg are represented in Afrikaans and English novels published after 2000. In comparing six novels, I found that aspects that are not usually associated with the urban, such as embodiment, spirituality and non-human nature play prominent roles in all the novels. I therefore argue that theories related to Object Oriented Ontology (OOO) can fruitfully be used to understand the novels in ways that challenge anthropocentrism by foregrounding the relationships between humans and the non-human. In the monograph I will also critically interrogate the relevance and novelty of OOO for South African literature and theories by bringing it into dialogue with specifically South African theories and cosmologies.