Cover image for Oil Fictions: World Literature and Our Contemporary Petrosphere Edited by Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi

Oil Fictions

World Literature and Our Contemporary Petrosphere

Edited by Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi

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$124.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09158-7

308 pages
6" × 9"
2021

AnthropoScene: The SLSA Book Series

Oil Fictions

World Literature and Our Contemporary Petrosphere

Edited by Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi

“This excellent collection not only provides an authoritative introduction to petrofiction’s key texts, conceptual debates, and critical methodologies but also extends the range and scope of that work. In their impressive expansion of the geographical ambit and theoretical concerns of oil fiction, particularly into the Global South, these essays offer new and hitherto underrealized perspectives. They are what the field has been waiting for.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Oil, like other fossil fuels, permeates every aspect of human existence. Yet it has been largely ignored by cultural critics, especially in the context of the Global South. Seeking to make visible not only the pervasiveness of oil in society and culture but also its power, Oil Fictions stages a critical intervention that aligns with the broader goals of the energy humanities.

Exploring literature and film about petroleum as a genre of world literature, Oil Fictions focuses on the ubiquity of oil as well as the cultural response to petroleum in postcolonial states. The chapters engage with African, South American, South Asian, Iranian, and transnational petrofictions and cover topics such as the relationship of colonialism to the fossil fuel economy, issues of gender in the Thermocene epoch, and discussions of migration, precarious labor, and the petro-diaspora. This unique exploration includes testimonies of the oil encounter—through memoirs, journals, and interviews—from a diverse geopolitical grid, ranging from the Permian Basin to the Persian Gulf.

By engaging with non-Western literary responses to petroleum in a concentrated, sustained way, this pathbreaking book illuminates the transnational dimensions of the discourse on oil. It will appeal to scholars and students working in literature and science studies, energy humanities, ecocriticism, petrocriticism, environmental humanities, and Anthropocene studies.

In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume include Henry Obi Ajumeze, Rebecca Babcock, Ashley Dawson, Sharae Deckard, Scott DeVries, Kristen Figgins, Amitav Ghosh, Corbin Hiday, Helen Kapstein, Micheal Angelo Rumore, Simon Ryle, Sheena Stief, Imre Szeman, Maya Vinai, and Wendy W. Walters.

“This excellent collection not only provides an authoritative introduction to petrofiction’s key texts, conceptual debates, and critical methodologies but also extends the range and scope of that work. In their impressive expansion of the geographical ambit and theoretical concerns of oil fiction, particularly into the Global South, these essays offer new and hitherto underrealized perspectives. They are what the field has been waiting for.”

Stacey Balkan is Assistant Professor of English and Environmental Humanities at Florida Atlantic University and author of the forthcoming book Rogues in the Postcolony: Narrating Extraction and Itinerancy in India.

Swaralipi Nandi is Assistant Professor of English at Loyola Academy. She is the coeditor of Spectacles of Blood: A Study of Masculinity and Violence in Postcolonial Films and The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction.

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Reading Our Contemporary Petrosphere

Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi

1. Petrofiction, Revisited

Amitav Ghosh

2. Energy and Autonomy: Worker Struggles and the Evolution of Energy Systems

Ashley Dawson

3. Gendering Petrofiction: Energy, Imperialism, and Social Reproduction

Sharae Deckard

4. Petrofeminism: Love in the Age of Oil

Helen Kapstein

5. “We Are Pipeline People”: Nnedi Okorafor’s Ecocritical Speculations

Wendy W. Walters

6. Petro-drama in the Niger Delta: Ben Binebai’s My Life in the Burning Creeks and Oil’s “Refuse of History”

Henry Obi Ajumeze

7. Documenting “Cheap Nature” in Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace: A Petro-aesthetic Critique

Stacey Balkan

8. Aestheticizing Absurd Extraction: Petro-capitalism in Deepak Unnikrishnan’s “In Mussafah Grew People”

Swaralipi Nandi

9. Petro-cosmopolitics: Oil and the Indian Ocean in Amitav Ghosh’s The Circle of Reason

Micheal Angelo Rumore

10. Xerodrome Lube: Cyclonic Geopoetics and Petropolytical War Machines

Simon Ryle

11. Oil Gets Everywhere: Critical Representations of the Petroleum Industry in Spanish American Literature

Scott DeVries

12. Conjectures on World Energy Literature

Imre Szeman

13. Petrofiction as Stasis in Abdelrahman Munif’s Cities of Salt and Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland

Corbin Hiday

Memoirs and Interviews

14. Assessing the Veracity of the Gulf Dreams: An Interview with Author Benyamin

Maya Vinai

15. Testimonies from the Permian Basin

Kristen Figgins, Rebecca Babcock, and Sheena Stief

Afterword

Contributors

Index