Publication Date

2018-08-10

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2020-08-09

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

English (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2018-06-20

First Committee Member

Brenna Munro

Second Committee Member

Tim Watson

Third Committee Member

Tracy Devine Guzmán

Fourth Committee Member

Ashley Dawson

Abstract

This dissertation identifies “resource conflict literature” as a genre of global literature and media that addresses neo-colonial conflicts over oil, minerals and other natural resources. I focus on twentieth and twenty-first century texts set in “resource frontiers,” i.e. places where native peoples struggle against the grab of mineral-rich lands and other resources by large corporations. The chapters of my dissertation study native struggles in three unique areas of the world, namely, east-central India (South Asia), the Niger Delta of Nigeria (Western Africa), and northern Iraq (the Arabian Peninsula). I identity a literary device – the “itinerary of conflict” – to refer to spatial accounts that mediate and convey the perspectives of indigenous minorities amidst embattled conditions of the resource frontier, such as armed violence, displacement, and environmental toxicity. For instance, Arundhati Roy’s travel-essay “Walking with the Comrades” (2010) engenders an itinerary of conflict through the author’s account of a foot-journey across the Dandakaranya jungles of east-central India, alongside Naxalite indigenous rebels. Just as Roy’s narrative is inflected by indigenous communities struggling against the expansion of iron-ore mining in their homelands, itineraries of conflict draw on indigenous acts of defiance, such as protest marches through contested lands and ritual pilgrimages to culturally significant sites. More broadly, itineraries of conflict are a spatial vocabulary common to resource conflict literatures from several parts of the world. I locate resource conflict literature as a genre, emerging within world literature and ‘global literature in English,’ in which authors explore urgent contemporary issues regarding environmental justice and indigenous rights.

Keywords

environmental humanities; indigenous rights; world literature; resource conflict literature; natural resources; global media

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