Toxic Belonging?: Identity and ecology in southern Africa

Southern Africa’s literatures brim with references to the natural world, its landscapes and its animals. Both fictional and non-fictional works express ongoing debates, often highly politicised, concerning its various groups’ senses of identity and belonging in relation to the land and its denizens. This often involves a pervasive tension between ‘Western’, settler societies’ conceptions of modernity and indigenous world-views, each complicating the often simplistic binarism drawn between them. In this selection of papers from the 2006 Literature and Ecology Colloquium, held in Grahamstown, South Africa, the complexities of forging imaginative and pragmatic senses of belonging in Southern Africa are explored from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: philosophical, historical, botanical, and anthropological as well as literary – ranging from Bushman testimonies to Berlin missionaries, from prehistoric cave dwellers to Schopenhauer, from white Batswana to lion tamers.

Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, 2008. 268pp.
ISBN (10) 1-84718-514-2.