Reading Perocultures in the Niger Delta: An Eco-Critical Enquiry


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of English Language & Literature


This book-length study examines the relationship between cultural production, oil extraction and the environment in a postcolonial context of Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Drawing on theories that frame oil in culture, global environmental justice discourse, and ecocriticism, the project investigates and determines the intervention that the literary imagination might make in understanding the sites and landscapes of oil extraction. It suggests that the Niger Delta is the quintessential landscape where everyday life and the oil infrastructure are intimately intertwined; and reflects on what it would mean to consider literary responses to oil extraction as a form of “petro-environmentalism”, precisely because they critique the oil industry in the way that it impacts on local environments and degrades indigenous livelihoods. Finally, the project identifies the manner in which petro-environmental literatures (might) challenge the assumptions that inform ecocriticism and push against its aesthetic boundaries, in order to stimulate a transnational discourse of environmentalism.