1st Edition

Desertscapes in the Global South and Beyond Anthropocene Naturecultures

    Embracing a rich diversity of voices, this volume seeks to explore the different facets of Anthropocene naturecultures in the desert biomes of the Global South and beyond. Essays in this collection will articulate issues of desertification, indigeneity and re-inhabitation in narratives that thread together Tibet, China, Australia, India, South Mexico, South Africa and Brazil in all their richness and complexity. Re-imaging the desert figure’s rich biodiversity, this book presents new ways to envision the human relationships to natural ecology and mindful accountability, tracing complex narrative connections and challenging hegemonic norms of its role in the co-construction of identity, affect, and gender. Essays also aim to engage in an intertextual conversation with colonial genres that influence the popular conception of these spaces, moving beyond the usual tropes to forge a topographically informed desert identity and posit a ‘natureculture’ ecosystem based on the interpenetration of landscape, culture, and history. This volume includes literary exploration of environmental injustices, analyzing motifs of deforestation, land degradation, falling crop production, toxic man-made chemicals, and extractivist practices linked to various social and economic stressors and gradients in economic and political power. This diverse volume will provide a significant contribution to desert humanities from the Global South, responding to the pressing problems of the Anthropocene and employing place-based ecocritical frameworks that help us imagine a sustainable way of life.


    Sushila Shekhawat, Rayson K.Alex and Swarnalatha Rangarajan

    Chapter 1

    Topologies of Nihilism: Anthropocene Imaginaries and the Figure of the Desert

    Aidan Tynan

    Chapter 2

    Inheriting Isotopes: The Androcene and the End of Nature in the Great Victoria Desert A-Bomb Test Sites

    CA. Cranston

    Chapter 3

    Old Green Deserts and New Brown Pools: Post-colonization, Neo-colonization, and Decolonization

    Iris Ralph

    Chapter 4

    Slow Violence and the Desert Ecology: Re-Reading Terra Nullius in Hergé’s Arab World

    Nilanjana Chatterjee, Anindita Chatterjee, and Boijayanto Mukherjee

    Chapter 5

    Environmental and Cultural Disequilibriums in Southeast Asian Literature

    Chitra Sankaran

    Chapter 6

    This Land Shouldn’t Be a Desert: The Collapse of Western Civilization in 18th Century "California"

    Luis Felipe Gómez Lomelí

    Chapter 7

    Graciliano Ramos and Bessie Head: Political and Affective Dimensions of Two Different Deserts

    Izabel F. O. Brandão

    Chapter 8

    Songs of Longing: Love Narratives and the Geographical Imaginaries of the Thar Desert

    Tanuja Kothiyal

    Chapter 9

    Palai (Arid and Semi-Arid) Landscapes in Early Tamil Literature

    and History of South India

    V. Selvakumar

    Chapter 10

    Under Another Sky: A Triptych in the Thar Desert

    Vidya Sarveswaran

    Chapter 11

    A Different Story in the Anthropocene: "Ecological Migrants" Greening Deserts in China

    Zhou Xiaojing

    Chapter 12

    Tibet: A New Shambala for Posthumanist Imagination

    Gang Yue

    Chapter 13

    Overcoming the Nature/Culture Divide: What can we learn from Aboriginal culture in the Anthropocene?

    Roslynn Haynes

    Chapter 14

    The Sustainable Way of Life of the Bedouin Gone

    Sharif Elmusa


    Sushila Shekhawat (Ph.D. from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani; Areas of Expertise: Film and Media Studies) is Associate Professor at the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Pilani Campus. She has 23 journal essays, 13 book chapters and one edited volume to her credit. Rayson K. Alex (Ph.D. from Madras Christian College, University of Madras; Areas of Expertise: Ecocriticism) is Associate Professor at the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, K. K. Birla Goa Campus. He has 11 journal essays, 22 book chapters and 6 edited books to his credit. He is the founder and co-director of tiNai Ecofilm Festival. Swarnalatha Rangarajan (Ph.D. from University of Madras; Areas of Expertise: Ecocriticism and American Literature) is Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras. She has published 24 journal essays, 11 book chapters and 7 edited books, a novel and a monograph.