Zt.Zzt in the Anthropocene: Arthropod Flesh, Solar-Strip Skin and Anthropocene Time in "The Old Drift"


  • Amit Baishya University of Oklahoma




Anthropocene time, arthropods, drones, planetary, Anthrobscene


While Namwali Serpell’s novel The Old Drift can be read as a fictional account of colonial and post-colonial Zambian history, this article focuses on the text’s exploration of Anthropocene time—geobiochemical and planetary temporal scales that predate human histories, while also gesturing towards futures where Homo sapiens may be absent. This article focuses on deep temporality in the novel via the use of mosquito and Moskeetoze (mosquito-like microdrones) narrators. While mosquitoes facilitate encounters with the deep past and of entangled human-nonhuman histories, the Moskeetozes enable representations of the vicissitudes of the “Anthrobscene” (Parrikka) and the creative potentialities of improvised life that emerge in hazardscapes in the Global South. Additionally, The Old Drift gestures towards a speculative planetary future where mosquitoes and Moskeetozes integrate to evolve new forms of swarm intelligence and forms of life. 


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Author Biography

Amit Baishya, University of Oklahoma

Amit R. Baishya is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Oklahoma. His first monograph Contemporary Literature from Northeast India: Deathworlds, Terror and Survival was published by Routledge in 2018. He is also the co-editor of three collections: Northeast India: A Place of Relations (co-editor Yasmin Saikia, Cambridge University Press, 2017), Postcolonial Animalities (co-editor Suvadip Sinha, Routledge,  2019), and a special issue of the journal Postcolonial Studies titled "Planetary Solidarities: Postcolonial Theory, the Anthropocene and the Nonhuman" (co-editor Priya Kumar, 2021).  Baishya translates short stories and novels from Assamese to English. His translation of Debendranath Acharya’s Assamese novel, Jangam (The Movement, Vitasta), on the “forgotten long march” of Indians from Burma during WWII was released in 2018.






Articles: The Postcolonial Nonhuman