Towards an Eco-Communitarianism: Human and Non-Human Relations in Selected East African Literature


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Literature


This study investigates the environmental consciousness embodied in two dramas and two novels all committed to environmental issues in East Africa. It explores a kind of community based environmental ethic referred to in my study as 'eco-communitarianism', which emerges from human relations with the non-human in the texts. The study attends to setting, characterisation and figurative language devices employed in the representations of human-non-human relations in the works to explain how the notion eco-communitarianism emerges. I argue that this emerging concept of a community-based environmental ethic questions the binary of ecocentrism (eco-system-centred) and anthropocentrism (human-centred). Yet it is upon these two poles that the dominant strands of ecocriticism and also environmentalism are constructed. I comment on the significance of eco-communitarianism, as a socially inflected environmental ethos, basing on its projected potential in advancing environmental protection in the imaginary worlds of the literary works.