Project: Young Southern Speculatives: New Decolonialisms in the Capitalocene

This project identifies a new eco-speculative strand of world literature written by young authors from the Global South – that region of the world already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. The project analyses how fiction in the corpus encodes the emerging political consciousness of a new, transnational generation, which is taking shape in response to planetary emergency.

Project information

Project manager
Rebecca Duncan
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Comparative literature (Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages)

More about the project

The hard sciences have shown that the period since the turn of the millennium is a time of planetary emergency: of imminent climate tipping points and buckling planetary boundaries. As a number of literary and cultural critics have noted, these increasingly urgent crises in the biosphere have also brought about a crisis of representation, rendering established modes of storytelling obsolete, and demanding interpretation in non-realist, speculative paradigms, such as science fiction, horror, gothic or the weird.

At the same time, scholars in sociology have observed that, across the globe, a generational divide is opening up as unfolding change disrupts the intergenerational transmission of social knowledge. Finding that inherited worldviews fail to map easily onto a shifting reality, cohorts of young people are formulating new narratives in which to make sense of the present, and forge new visions of liveable futures. When they are shared by sectors of the youth population across national borders, these interpretations become legible as a new transnational “generational style”: a political consciousness that, while always inflected by local history and culture, is global to the extent that it responds to changes that are global in scale.

This project brings together and builds on these insights in literary criticism and youth sociology, and is the first study to examine how speculative fictions of ecological crisis express the generational style of a new global cohort. The central aim of the project is thus to identify and analyse a major new speculative strand of world literature, which encodes a political consciousness that is emerging specifically in response to current planetary emergency. To do this, the project reads comparatively across a transnational corpus of speculative narratives by young writers who have come of age in the new millennium, paying particular attention to authors from the Global South.

The project is part of:
Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
Aesthetics of Empire Research Cluster