Invasive Species and the Territorial Machine: Shifting Interfaces between Ecology and the Postcolonial


  • Filippo Menozzi University of Kent


Biological Invasion, Deterritorialisation, Postcolonial Literature, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Deleuze and Guattari


This article proposes a rethinking of biological invasion in contemporary South African and Australian literature. It argues that the literary representation of pest proliferation can offer a privileged insight into the intersection between the legacy of settler colonialism and current ecological concerns. Indeed, the question of invasive species can be connected to both unreconciled histories of colonial expansion and pressing biodiversity and conservation issues. This essay adopts Deleuze and Guattari's concept of deterritorialisation in order to explore the description of invasive species in Henrietta Rose-Innes's Nineveh and The Rabbits, a visual narrative by John Mardsen and Shaun Tan. A reading inspired by the anti-metaphorical value of the concept of deterritorialisation overcomes an anthropocentric view that would reduce animals to mere metaphorical stand-ins for humans. The intimate link between nature and culture posited by Deleuze and Guattari's generalised ecology is conceptualised as a shifting interface between postcolonial and ecocritical agendas in the reading of postcolonial literature from South Africa and Australia.

Author Biography

Filippo Menozzi, University of Kent

I teach at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, where I recently completed a PhD in Postcolonial Studies. My research focuses on twentieth-century writing, postcolonial literature and critical theory. I am the author of Postcolonial Custodianship: Cultural and Literary Inheritance, New York, Routledge, 2014. This book redefines the figure of the postcolonial intellectual by engaging with key authors such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Arundhati Roy. Currently, I am working on the history of imperialism in the early twentieth century and its representation in colonial and postcolonial literatures.