Concurrences and Connections: The Colonial Anthropocene
Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Växjo, Sweden (15-19 August 2022)
Lobke Minter (PhD student)
I was invited to present a paper at Concurrences and Connections: The Colonial Anthropocene, hosted by the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies in Växjo, Sweden (15-19 August 2022). The paper entitled “Scars, Resilience and Power in Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death” is based on a chapter in my PhD dissertation, “Speculative Gothic Fiction and the Scar as Trauma Trope: Imagining Hope through Horror”. My presentation focused on how resistance is embodied within the context of Okorafor’s postapocalyptic Africa, which is disproportionately affected by environmental degradation due to continued colonial and neo-colonial extraction of resources.
The summer school was attended by scholars from a range of different disciplines, such as anthropology, history, sociology, geology as well as literature. Every morning we started off with a theory session. Interdisciplinary and collaborative, the discussions delved into diverse topics, from the problematic construction of the Anthropocene to considering how academia and activism should and could intersect more powerfully. This critical awareness and mindfulness filtered into the presentations held in the afternoon, with robust discussions and feedback afterwards. Each presentation highlighted a facet of how imperial power structures are entangled with questions of environment and human relationships. The interdisciplinarity encouraged everyone to challenge themselves to step outside of their fields and consider different ways of engaging with the topics being discussed. I found myself thinking about how literary studies can contribute to activism and the importance of imagining the world as it could be.
The emphasis on collegiality created a discursively rich atmosphere. I have gained a lot from this experience, primarily in the form of having acquired new knowledge as well as feeling significantly encouraged within my own research journey. I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to have been able to attend the summer school and would like to thank Stellenbosch University’s International Office for the PGO overseas conference grant as well as the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies for their generous funding. Thanks also to Dr Jeanne Ellis for her unwavering support as my supervisor.