Southern imaginaries, or, thinking from the South

At a time when the focus of economic development is often the so-called Global South, yet when countries of the north continue to grow in geopolitical dominance, this interdisciplinary project offers a series of cultural, historical, and literary reflections on southness. I take southness to refer broadly to southern imaginaries, or the perception of southern lands and seas, generally still considered to occupy the margins of the world. The project will explore how the south—so often represented as distant and exotic—sees itself in spatial, environmental and conceptual terms. In particular, how do southern worlds imagine themselves through and in relation to each other? How are global perceptions pitched from or located in the south interpretatively different from those in the north? For this project, the south will be taken to embrace Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and the seas in-between. The project outcomes are threefold: a collection of sketches, short stories, and essays on southern worlds, entitled Southing; 2. a comparative long-essay study of the self-consciously southern writer J.M. Coetzee’s post-2002 work; and 3. an epistolary romance novel part-set in Antarctica, Far.

Project leader(s):
  • Elleke Boehmer (Faculty of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford)

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