" The Representations of Savannah in the Francophone and Anglophone Literature in West Africa."
Kontaktadresse an der Universität Würzburg:
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik
Klasse in der Graduiertenschule: "Environmental Humanities"
Promotion in der Graduiertenschule ab WS 2020/2021.
The African savannah covers about 13.5 million km², that is most of Africa south of the Sahara. 75% of these lands have already been decimated (Riggio et al. 2013). Some living beings are being swept away with them, others, starting with pangolins and bats, are cramped and share their breath-stealing viruses with humans. This disappearing savannah has been written and described by colonisers infected with another virus, racism, equally asphyxiating, and coupled with exotism, misogyny and specism. But the savannah is writing back, literature offering a formidable platform for rethinking this space, which is as concrete as it is symbolic. Writers sharing roots with West Africa offer invaluable perspectives for re-enchanting the savannah, going beyond criticism of exploitation and imagining relationships between living beings other than those of domination. This thesis aims to search for the dissident imaginaries and plural ethos nurtured by these authors. The hunting songs, poems, tales and science fiction flourishing in this region, mostly francophone, contain alternative representations that have so far been little explored by the currents of ecocriticism and écopoétique. Several academics, including Elizabeth Deloughrey and Byron Caminero-Santangelo, have recognised that this literary movement at the crossroads between environment and literature has been predominantly white and anglophone. This project therefore intends to participate in the blossoming of a francophone and anglophone African ecrocritic/poétique movement by investigating dissident representations of the savannah.