Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-5795-0723

Date of Award

5-4-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Randy Malamud

Second Advisor

Jay Rajiva

Third Advisor

Renee Schatteman

Abstract

This project implicates globalization – the spreading of capital, neoliberalism, and Western totalitarianism – as a primary contributor to the continuing subalternity of colonized cultures and environments in the Global South. Under the guise of shrinking the world or spreading freedom, globalization has resulted in profound material consequences to biomes attempting political decolonization. Where postcolonial theory demands that attention be paid to anthropological difference, be it social, political, economic, or gendered, some ecocritical scholars of the Anthropocene wish to decenter the human from an era in which they – as a species – have emerged as a hazardous geologic force. This project offers “traffic” as a literal and metaphorical framework for the meshing of human subalternity within the material biomes of the Asia-Pacific region, as captured in literature. Examining texts from India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States reveals multiple traffics within globalization that intertwine the subaltern subject within their environs: the mapping and zoning of cities, the congestion of foreign-made automobiles and persons within cities, and the historical and current trade of illegal narcotics and humans. The dissertation actively contributes to a developing subset of ecocriticism that recognizes the subaltern in the intra-action of environmental entities, showing that each animal, plant, object and person has its own vibrancy, its own directionality, which leads to congestion and accidents, but often to new pathways.

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