chapter  5
29 Pages

Nature, postcolonialism, environmentalism

WithTariq Jazeel

This chapter proceeds in two sections. The first engages postcolonial geographical approaches to nature that have shown it to be tightly tethered to Enlightenment thought, and subsequently central within colonial and neocolonial imagination, encounter and dispossession. The second section of the chapter turns first to recent literary studies work in the emergent field of postcolonial ecocriticism before introducing on the rich and emergent seam of Indigenous geographical scholarship. As I show, recent literary criticism has not only drawn attention to the Eurocentrism of environmental studies and environmentalism, but it has usefully raised fundamental questions about what constitutes an ‘environmental text’ and, by implication, ‘nature’ itself. In turn, by thinking and working with Indigenous environmental knowledges and experiences, Indigenous geographical scholarship is one important area, the chapter suggests, where the geographical discipline has effectively pluralized understandings of environment and ‘nature’. As such, this chapter shows how a postcolonial geographical engagement with nature draws into the geographical imagination forms of spatial, environmental and metaphysical difference that the hegemony of the concept conceals, and in so doing gestures to research that pushes through and beyond the ubiquity of nature as a concept.