Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Matthew Omelsky has recently coined the term "African Anthropocene" to describe how the intertwined crises wrought by global capitalism and man-made ecological disaster have disproportionately affected the African continent. This paper discusses a short story collection by the Ugandan writer Dilman Dila, A Killing in the Sun (2014), as one instance of an African aesthetics that uniquely registers and responds to this dual crisis. I focus in particular on the "vampire story" that opens this collection, arguing that Dila not only reinvents, but, in critical ways, "mutates" the canonical Euro-American vampire figure. In reimagining the aristocratic European vampire as a mutant, genetically modified swarm of mosquitos, Dila's story suggests new, environmental forms of the monstrous emerging at the confluence of ecological catastrophe and corporate neocolonialism. At the same time, I show how Dila's fiction draws on the history of colonialism in Africa in imagining modes of survival within this vampiric ecology. In order to unpack the political implications of what I call Dila's "mutational aesthetics," I trace Dila's attempts to imagine forms of human-nonhuman entanglement that delink from a Western episteme and its ideological carapace of "the human," providing instead post-humanist visions of survival and refuge.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 142-157
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-06
Open Access
No
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