Identity, belonging and ecological crisis in South African speculative fiction

Steenkamp, Elzette Lorna (2011) Identity, belonging and ecological crisis in South African speculative fiction. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This study examines a range of South African speculative novels which situate their narratives in futuristic or ‘alternative’ milieus, exploring how these narratives not only address identity formation in a deeply divided and rapidly changing society, but also the ways in which human beings place themselves in relation to Nature and form notions of ‘ecological’ belonging. It offers close readings of these speculative narratives in order to investigate the ways in which they evince concerns which are rooted in the natural, social and political landscapes which inform them. Specific attention is paid to the texts’ treatment of the intertwined issues of identity, belonging and ecological crisis. This dissertation draws on the fields of Ecocriticism, Postcolonial Studies and Science Fiction Studies, and assumes a culturally specific approach to primary texts while investigating possible cross-cultural commonalities between Afrikaans and English speculative narratives, as well as the cross-fertilisation of global SF/speculative features. It is suggested that South African speculative fiction presents a socio-historically situated, rhizomatic approach to ecology – one that is attuned to the tension between humanistic- and ecological concerns.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa, Science fiction, Fantasy, Group identity, Ecology in literature, Ecofiction, Ecocriticism
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
Supervisors:Wylie, Dan
ID Code:2977
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:12 Jun 2012 11:57
Last Modified:12 Jun 2012 11:57
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