Eunice Toh

Graduate Summer 2023: Eunice Toh

Black Cosmo-cologies: Rebirth and Renaissance in the Long Nineteenth Century

This project argues that the politics and aesthetics of Black ecologies in literary narratives illustrate alternate cosmologies of being and ways of knowing in this world. In looking beyond ecology as simply metaphorical in literature, I hope to show how Black ecology limns or haunts questions of liberation, world-making, and humanism in the writings of “American” authors. For instance, what are the alternative ontologies that might emerge when scholars imagine historical processes and modes, such as the afterlife of slavery, in a similar way to how one considers organic processes like germination or weathering? In line with crucial theoretical work from related fields of environmental humanities, Black print culture, multiethnic studies, and posthumanism, this project looks to Black cosmo-(e)cologies to interrogate conventional periodization, foundations, and boundaries of the long nineteenth century.