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Postcolonial EcologiesLiteratures of the Environment$
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Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195394429.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

What the Whales Would Tell Us

What the Whales Would Tell Us

Cetacean Communication in Novels by Witi Ihimaera, Linda Hogan, Zakes Mda, and Amitav Ghosh

(p.182) 8 What the Whales Would Tell Us
Postcolonial Ecologies

Jonathan Steinwand

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between humans and whales as inscribed in postcolonial literature. More specifically, it considers cetacean communication in novels by Witi Ihimaera, Linda Hogan, Zakes Mda, and Amitav Ghosh. It also explores how recent postcolonial novels press conceptual boundaries of bioregional ecologies, as well as the possibility of reconfiguring ecocriticism’s reliance on a “land ethic” to include maritime spaces. Drawing upon the ecofeminist work of Mette Bryld and Nina Lykke, the chapter describes this cetacean turn in relation to the post-Cold War exploration of “extraterrestrial” space and to postcolonial concerns regarding biomythic narratives that position nonhuman animals as ancestors or companion species.

Keywords:   humans, whales, postcolonial literature, cetacean communication, novels, Witi Ihimaera, Linda Hogan, Zakes Mda, Amitav Ghosh, ecocriticism

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