Dr Emily McGiffin (York University, Canada)
Postdoctoral Fellow, December 2018-August 2019
Poetry, power and dispossession in the aluminum-industrial complex
I am an Environmental Humanities scholar specifically interested in postcolonial ecopoetics and its intersection with extractive industries and geographies of uneven development. My current project is a multidisciplinary examination of the transnational aluminum industry, the history of its development and the social importance of aluminum as a material. Looking at the politics of extraction in Guinea, West Africa, and smelting in northern British Columbia and Quebec, Canada, I ask how literary artists from these regions engage with these industrial processes. During my time at IASH, I will complete several articles in progress stemming from this project and a detailed outline of my next monograph. I will also establish an online interactive map that illustrates the spatial relations between different nodes of the industrial supply chain.
This work builds on my doctoral research conducted at York University in Toronto and as a Visiting Scholar at Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa. My ecocritical discussion of black South African poetry culminated in a monograph, Of Land, Bones, and Money: Toward a South African Ecopoetics, that will be published by the University of Virginia Press this coming July. It also draws on my arts background as a poet and my role as Poetry Editor for The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada.