The Postcolonial Picaro in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People – Becoming Posthuman through Animal’s Eyes

  • Roman Bartosch
Keywords: Sinha, Bhopal, posthumanism

Abstract

 One of the effects of ecocritical scholarship can be seen in the questioning of postmodern attempts of a radical constructivism that understands the world as a discursive phenomenon and that opposes any notion of a 'reality' outside those discursive entanglements. In light of environmental crises in particular, to doubt an extradiscursive reality seems inappropriate. However, I will argue in this essay that narratives of catastrophe do follow specific dramatising rhetorics, and I will show how Indra Sinha's Animal's People questions and ultimately deconstructs these. By radically questioning the idea of a stable reality and authentic means to narrate it, postcolonial ecocriticism in general, and Animal's People in particular, engenders a sense of the tension between reality and representational ideology, and it enables a way of experiencing this conflict through the eyes of an ecological posthumanism.

 

Resumen

 

Uno de los efectos de la erudición ecocrítica puede ser visto en el cuestionamiento de los intentos postmodernos de un constructivismo radical que entiende el mundo como un fenómeno discursivo y que contrapone cualquier noción de una "realidad" fuera de dichos entresijos discursivos. Teniendo en cuenta la crisis ambiental en particular, dudar de una realidad extra-discursiva parece inapropiado. Sin embargo, expondré en este ensayo que las narrativas de la catástrofe siguen retóricas específicas y exageradas, asimismo mostraré como Animal's People de Indra Sinha cuestiona y en última instancia deconstruye las mismas. Por medio del cuestionamiento radical de la idea de una realidad estable y de medios verosímiles para narrarla, la ecocrítica poscolonial en general y Animal's People en particular, engendra una sensación de tensión entre la realidad y la ideología representacional y proporciona un medio para experimentar este conflicto a través de los ojos de un posthumanismo ecológico.

Author Biography

Roman Bartosch

Roman Bartosch studied English, German, Political Sciences and Psychology at the Universities of Cologne and Duisburg-Essen (Germany). His studies were completed with his state examination in 2009, after which he started working on his PhD thesis at the University of Duisburg-Essen. His interests and main fields of research are narratology, ecocriticism, postcolonial literature (esp. J.M. Coetzee) and the English novel of the 19th century. Roman Bartosch is currently working as a junior lecturer at the University of Cologne, and he is writing his PhD-thesis on the intersection of postcolonial literature and ecocritical discourses.

Published
2012-03-12
Section
Writing Catastrophes: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Semantics of Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters