Empire and Environment

Ecological Ruin in the Transpacific

Subjects: American Studies, Asian Studies, South/Southeast Asia
Open Access : 9780472902996, 322 pages, 13 illustrations, 6 x 9, October 2022
Paperback : 9780472054930, 322 pages, 13 illustrations, 6 x 9, October 2022
Hardcover : 9780472074938, 322 pages, 13 illustrations, 6 x 9, October 2022
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Explores environmental violence and recovery in Indigenous Pacific Islander, Asian North American, and Asian diasporic cultural expressions

Table of contents

Preface: Out of the Ruins
Macarena Gómez-Barris                             
Rina Garcia Chua, Heidi Hong, Jeffrey Santa Ana, Zhou Xiaojing         

PART I:  (Framing) Postcolonial Ecocritical Approaches to the Asia-Pacific  
from Family Trees (poem) Craig Santos Perez                             
1    Transpacific Queer Ecologies: Confronting Ecological Ruination and         
Imperialist  Nostalgia in Han Ong’s The Disinherited
Jeffrey Santa Ana
2    Cycas wadei and Enduring White Space             
Kathleen Gutierrez   
3    Rust and Recovery: A Study of South Indian Goddess Films                   
Chitra Sankaran
4    “If We Return We Will Learn:” Empire, Poetry, and Biocultural Knowledge     
in Papua New Guinea
John Charles Ryan
PART II:  Militarized Environments
Nuclear Family (poem) Craig Santos Perez                        
5    Environmental Violence and the Vietnam War in le thi diem thuy’s         
The Gangster We Are All Looking For
Emily Cheng  
6    Toxic Waters: Vietnamese Ecologies in the Afterlives of Empire    
Heidi Amin-Hong
7     Haunted by Empires: Micronesian Eco-Poetry Against Colonial Ruination        
Zhou Xiaojing
PART III:  Decolonizing the Transpacific: Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Resistance
Praise Song for Oceania (poem) Craig Santos Perez                       
8    Risk and Resistance at Po\\ōhakuloa                              
Rebecca Hogue
9    “Disentrancing” the Rot of Colonialism in Philippine and Canadian Ecopoetry      
 Rina Garcia Chua
10    Representing Postcolonial Water Environments in Contemporary Taiwanese        
Tihan Chang

PART IV:  Climate Justice and Ecological Futurities
 Age of Plastic (poem), Craig Santos Perez                           
11    Climate Justice in the Transpacific Novel                            Amy Lee
12    Rising Like Waves: Drowning Settler Colonial Rhetoric with Aloha           
Emalani Case
13    Imperial Debris, Vibrant Matter: Plastic in the Hands of Asian American and
Kanaka Maoli Artists
Chad Shomura

Afterword: “A New Way Beyond the Darkness”
Priscilla Wald                                       


Empire and Environment argues that histories of imperialism, colonialism, militarism, and global capitalism are integral to understanding environmental violence in the transpacific region. The collection draws its rationale from the imbrication of imperialism and global environmental crisis, but its inspiration from the ecological work of activists, artists, and intellectuals across the transpacific region. Taking a postcolonial, ecocritical approach to confronting ecological ruin in an age of ecological crises and environmental catastrophes on a global scale, the collection demonstrates how Asian North American, Asian diasporic, and Indigenous Pacific Island cultural expressions critique a de-historicized sense of place, attachment, and belonging. In addition to its thirteen chapters from scholars who span the Pacific, each part of this volume begins with a poem by Craig Santos Perez. The volume also features a foreword by Macarena Gómez-Barris and an afterword by Priscilla Wald.

Jeffrey Santa Ana is Associate Professor of English at Stony Brook University.
Heidi Amin-Hong is Assistant Professor of English at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Rina Garcia Chua is a Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellow in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.
Zhou Xiaojing is Professor of English at the University of the Pacific.

Empire and Environment speaks to the urgency of the contemporary political moment and to the long histories of militarization, empire, and extraction that continue to shape transpacific ecologies. It centers the political, literary, and artistic work of Pacific Islanders, diasporic Asians, and Asian North Americans as offering the crucial insights, theories, and resistance that are necessary to developing sustainable and decolonial futures. This is an outstanding, important collection.”
—Sarah D. Wald, University of Oregon

- Sarah D. Wald

Empire and Environment is an important volume with scholarship of the highest quality that will be valuable to scholars and graduate and undergraduate students. The book puts into conversation  interdisciplinary and transnational writers, activists, and poetry. The range of artists and scholars gathered together allow for coverage of diverse interests, disciplines, and geographies. It also makes for a dynamic read and will appeal to a variety of readers.”
—Marguerite Nguyen, Wesleyan University

- Marguerite Nguyen

Listen: Rina Garcia Chua and Jeffrey Santa Ana interviewed on the ASLE Podcast | 08/10/2022