• Life among the Vermin: Nineveh and Ecological Relocation

    Author(s):
    Daniel Williams (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    CLCS Global Anglophone, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century English and Anglophone, TC Postcolonial Studies
    Subject(s):
    South African literature, Ecocriticism, Urban ecology, Space
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Henrietta Rose-Innes, Cape Town, Non-Human, Post-Apartheid, Relocation
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/8g6x-bb21
    Abstract:
    Henrietta Rose-Innes's novel Nineveh (2011) catalogs the activities of a humane pest expert as she discovers, on an estate under construction outside Cape Town, how human and insect actors undermine the spatial expectations of post-apartheid South Africa. Rose-Innes advances a vision of interspecies connection by recasting controversial themes drawn from South Africa's history to address ecological concerns. Rose-Innes transforms South African literature's "vermin" imaginary to collapse figurative boundaries among humans and nonhumans, and repurposes the fraught concept of "relocation" to spotlight creaturely entanglements in the post-apartheid city. These gestures of reclamation produce a representational tension, reframing immediate political matters to focus on more durable ecological concerns. Yet Nineveh further tilts these discourses into an "ethics of transience" attentive to ecological scale but still cognizant of historical and ongoing injustices. The novel thus undertakes an "ecological relocation," understood along the lines of the essay's three movements as figurative interchange, spatial transit, and perceptual rescaling.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    12 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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