Call For Papers: Eco-criticism from the African Perspectives

Call For Papers: Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism 28.01

Language, Literature and the Environment: Eco-criticism from the African Perspectives

Guest-edited by

Emmanuel Adeniyi (PhD)
English & Literary Studies, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria

Paul Ayodele Onanuga (PhD)
English & Literary Studies, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria

The oversubscription to anthropocentric cosmology which places humanity at the centre of biosphere and relegates nature to the periphery has been pilloried in many postcolonial eco-critical texts. Furthermore, the injustice, imbalance, and power dialectics that greet human-nature relations in the ecosystem have often agitated the collective consciousness of eco-critical scholars, environmentalists, eco-critical writers, and “nature rights” activists globally. Ecocriticism, in broad terms, is concerned with exploring the diverse ways in which human societies and cultures have lived with ‘nature’. This includes the beneficial, as well as the ecocidal, and it is perhaps no surprise that societies which have achieved more equitable and sustainable relations are those that emphasise reciprocity, entanglement and co-creation, rather than those which assume humanity is separate from, and superior to, nature.

Much like the rest of the world, Africa is not immune to the swirling vortex of environmental degradation threatening both human and non-human existence. This tension may have triggered the interest of critics on the continent to interrogate the deleterious effects of human activities on the environment. Egya (2020) affirms the rising interest in African eco-critical writings, and foregrounds the existence of primordial consciousness in the preservation and sustenance of nature in African religio-cultural epistemologies. Implicit in this is the suggestion that current trends in ecological degradation are outcrops of Euro-American ‘modernity’. What can not be denied are the ecological effects of human abuse of the environment. For instance, in the Nigerian Niger Delta, indiscriminate oil exploration and gas flaring has engendered spoliation of flora and fauna, leaving behind unimaginable trails of environmental degradation and destruction in the oil rich region. Such realities underline the insensitivity of humanity to the environment in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. They similarly validate the interconnectivity between human economic activities and environmental spoliation. These ecological disasters
have led to severe economic displacement for the people of concerned regions in Nigeria, while numerous African societies are equally reaping the consequences of environmental spoliation.

While the bulk of ecological challenges can be adduced to leadership crisis as well as the activities of capitalists and unsavoury reality of endemic poverty, these challenges also index myriad of issues. Some of the underlying concerns include underdevelopment, lack of political will and insincerity on the part of government to implement growth-driven policies, connivance of government with external forces to depredate its people, ecological imperialism, citizen’s rights, insecurity of lives and property, and, above all, the volatility of degraded regions, and the direct effects of such degradation on national economies in Africa. To this end, this journal volume proposes to explore the anthropocentric practices, tensions, anarchy, and consciousness around ecological concerns on the African continent, as portrayed in African creative writings.

More specifically, we seek articles that raise critical and theoretical issues on the crucial role of language and literature in the contexts of eco-criticism. Articles which elucidate the diverse perspectives and contextual realities of ecological challenges from humanistic viewpoints are also welcome. In all, we expect manuscripts that adequately problematize the place of language and literatures in environmentally-conscious discourses.

We are interested in receiving abstracts which address African literature, eco-criticism, and sub-themes which include but are not limited to:

  • The Place of Language in African Eco-criticism
  • African Indigenous Epistemologies/Practices
  • Nature in African Popular Culture
  • Identity Practices/Constructions (gender, national, ethnic, etc.)
  • Digital Context(s)
  • The Socio-politics of Eco-criticism
  • Cross-culturality and Eco-criticism
  • Eco-criticism and Marginalised Communities
  • Eco-musicology
  • The (Post)colonial in Eco-criticism
  • Bio-politics
  • Climate Change

We welcome proposals for articles of 6000-7000 words. Please send abstracts of 500 words to the editors at ayomercy2011@gmail.com and emperornugadellio@yahoo.com by 31st October 2021. Selected contributors will be contacted by the beginning of January 2022 and asked to supply their full article by 1st October 2022 in order to start the double-blind peer review and editorial process. The special issue is scheduled for print publication in early 2024, although articles will be made available on our online journal as soon as they have passed final editorial approval. We especially welcome articles by, or focusing on the work of women, non-binary, LGBT*, Indigenous, disabled and working class writers, and authors of colour.

Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism is the journal of ASLE-UKI (the UK- Ireland branch of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment). It is a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge and supported by Bath Spa University and the University of Worcester. Green Letters explores interdisciplinary interfaces between humans and the natural and built environment.