Swapnit Pradhan is a Senior Research Fellow working in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. He has published his works in international journals and presented at many international conferences. His primary interests in research are the ecology of the Global South, environmental justice studies, indigenous and folk studies.
Madhav Dubey is a doctoral researcher working in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology. His works are published in international journals, and he has presented at many international conferences. Graphic novels, migration, trauma, and memory studies are his areas of interest.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Environmental Justice, and the Capitalocene in Suchen Christine Lim’s The River Song
Abstract: This paper delves into the intersections of traditional ecological knowledge, environmental justice, and the concept of the Capitalocene in the context of the novel The River’s Song (2014) by Suchen Christine Lim. The novel offers a nuanced exploration of Singapore’s rapid urbanization, capital-driven expansion, and its socio-environmental consequences. Through a scrutiny of the narrative, characters, and settings, the paper elucidates the presence of traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous practices as integral components of the characters’ identities and their relationship with the environment. Further, the paper examines the instances of environmental injustice depicted in the novel, highlighting how marginalized communities disproportionately bear the brunt of ecological degradation. The essay problematizes the inequitable distribution of ecological benefits and burdens among various classes of human beings. It also investigates the advent of the Capitalocene in terms of commodification and the boundless exploitation of nature, resulting in the alienation of individuals from the land. The critical base of the paper is informed by postcolonial ecocriticism and sociopolitical theories. By intertwining literary analysis with ecological and sociopolitical issues, this study aims to contribute to the discourse surrounding the intricate interplay between nature, culture, and posthuman societal structures, prompting us to reflect on the urgency of sustainable and equitable environmental stewardship.
Keywords: traditional ecological knowledge, environmental justice, Capitalocene, ecocriticism, environmental racism, Singaporean literature