English Assembly Guest Lecture at Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia, PA, sponsored by the English Department
What are contemporary fiction's strategies for representing diaspora? How do these relate to the environmental politics of a globalized capitalism built through colonialism and the slave trade? This talk on Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing begins by considering form, the idea of the novel, and how Gyasi's novel works by a logic of accrual rather than coherence to represent diaspora. I then turn toward representations of environment, and environment's relation to histories of colonialism and slavery, as a connecting thread that accrues across Gyasi's chapters. I focus in particular on Gyasi's representation of the cocoa economy in Ghana as a successor to the slave trade.