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Climate Change and Africa

16 August 2023

Cardiff representation at first international conference on environmental humanities in Africa

An academic from the Humanities at Cardiff University has attended two important international conferences in Nigeria, as part of the new initiatives under the new Dean of International for Africa.

As African higher education thrives, the new Dean of International for Africa role aims to provide dedicated academic leadership to the university’s partnerships and initiatives in Africa, and foster new opportunities to extend profile, reach and impact in the region.

Senior Lecturer in English Literature Dr David Shackleton has shared his latest research at two change-making new conferences: ‘Rethinking Decoloniality’ at the University of Lagos, and ‘Making and Unmaking Africa: Global Developments and Environmental Humanities’ at Osun State University.

Professor John Agbonifo of Osun State University is a founding member of the African Environmental Humanities Network and director of the Global Affairs and Sustainable Development Institute. He said:

'The first international conference on environmental humanities in Africa is significant because it provides an opportunity for African scholars, activists, and policy makers to come together to discuss the environmental challenges facing the continent, and explore insights and tools offered by environmental humanities for addressing those challenges. It provides a unique platform from which we all can contribute to building a more sustainable future for the continent'.

Professor Ambreena Manji, Dean of International for Africa at Cardiff University, said:

‘We do world class research at Cardiff and the opportunity to showcase this work is invaluable. I am delighted that as Cardiff’s inaugural Dean of International for Africa I have supported a colleague to take part in two landmark African conferences in Nigeria. I look forward to the long-term academic collaborations that will follow for Dr Shackleton and to the deepening of Cardiff’s intellectual engagement with African scholarship.’

Founder of Cardiff Environmental Cultures, which aims to foster debate between researchers, activists and the public about the current environmental emergency, Dr Shackleton discussed energy, resource extraction, sustainability and activism with policy makers and scholars on the trip.

He also shared his own research in two papers: ‘Solar Fiction: Nnedi Okorafor’s Noor, Renewable Energy, and Neo-Colonialism in Nigeria’, and ‘Planetary Fiction: Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were, Oil, and Environmental Activism’.

The research trip reflects growing research and teaching interests in the environmental humanities across Cardiff University. Within the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, this research complements the aims of Cardiff Environmental Cultures, and introduces a comparative perspective to the Welsh Energy Humanities project.

Particularly interested in the ways in which literature engages—or fails to engage—with the current environmental crisis, Dr David Shackleton is lead on the ‘Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities’ research project, and author of British Modernism and the Anthropocene: Experiments with Time (OUP, 2023). His new masters module ‘”Extract This!”: World Literature, Energy, and the Environment’ is shaped by his recent work in Nigeria.

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