Shilliam, Robbie et al.: Building on the Strata of the Dead: The Culture of Coral Reef Ecologies , in Chatterjee, Sukla et al. (Hrsg.): Postcolonial Oceans: Contradictions, Heterogeneities, Knowledges, Materialities, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2023 (Anglophone Postcolonial Studies, Band 1), S. 431–454. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.1046.c17322

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-158-8 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-159-5 (Hardcover)




Anne Collett

Building on the Strata of the Dead

The Culture of Coral Reef Ecologies

ABSTRACT This chapter considers the complex biological and cultural ecol­ogies of coral reefs as understood by two influential postcolonial writers of the twentieth century—Australian poet and activist Judith Wright and Carib­bean poet and social historian Kamau Brathwaite—in order to demonstrate how a “deep collaboration” (Nassar) between the arts and sciences might assist with the work of making coral reef “legible” (Schuster). Learning to read coral is in part a learning to read our changing human selves within a planetary history. The chapter argues for the disruptive and restorative work that an unsettling ecological poetics can do, in the main through its imaginative power to rebuild broken relationships between human and apparently nonhuman worlds—worlds that are utterly entangled and interdependent. In saving coral we save ourselves.

KEYWORDS coral reef, Judith Wright, Kamau Brathwaite, natureculture, postcolonial environmental poetics, Romantic Imagination