Of Land, Bones, and Money: Toward a South African Ecopoetics (Under the Sign of Nature) (Paperback)

Of Land, Bones, and Money: Toward a South African Ecopoetics (Under the Sign of Nature) By Emily McGiffin Cover Image
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The South African literature of iimbongi, the oral poets of the amaXhosa people, has long shaped understandings of landscape and history and offered a forum for grappling with change. Of Land, Bones, and Money examines the shifting role of these poets in South African society and the ways in which they have helped inform responses to segregation, apartheid, the injustices of extractive capitalism, and contemporary politics in South Africa.

Emily McGiffin first discusses the history of the amaXhosa people and the environment of their homelands before moving on to the arrival of the British, who began a relentless campaign annexing land and resources in the region. Drawing on scholarship in the fields of human geography, political ecology, and postcolonial ecocriticism, she considers isiXhosa poetry in translation within its cultural, historical, and environmental contexts, investigating how these poems struggle with the arrival and expansion of the exploitation of natural resources in South Africa and the entrenchment of profoundly racist politics that the process entailed. In contemporary South Africa, iimbongi remain a respected source of knowledge and cultural identity. Their ongoing practice of producing complex, spiritually rich literature continues to have a profound social effect, contributing directly to the healing and well-being of their audiences, to political transformation, and to environmental justice.

About the Author

Emily McGiffin is the author of two books of poetry, Between Dusk and Night and Subduction Zone, for which she received the 2015 Environmental Book Award (creative category) from the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780813942766
ISBN-10: 0813942764
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Publication Date: July 18th, 2019
Pages: 266
Language: English
Series: Under the Sign of Nature