Nature-Function in Caryl Phillips’s <i>Cambridge</i>


  • Carine Mardorossian Professor of English University at Buffalo 306 Clemens Hall Buffalo, NY 14260-4610 716 - 860 6168


ecocriticism, Caryl Phillips, Cambridge, environment, human


The author's ecocritical reading of Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge (1991) reveals the extent to which nonhuman landscapes in Caribbean fiction harbor a multiplicity of meanings. These meanings work in tandem with other sites of difference such as race and gender to produce the category “human” in a way that has gone unaddressed in the current ecocritical consensus surrounding the untenability of the human/nonhuman dyad. Instead of discussing the environment as a backdrop to human affairs and relations that it may or may not be seen as influencing, the environment in Caryl Phillips’s work operates, the author argues, as a form of “landscape-function” that echoes Foucault’s analysis of authorship.  This “landscape-function” challenges approaches that foreground the environment as a pre-existing space that evolves outside of the subject and instead sees it as function of discourse, i.e. as instrumental to the construction of the humanist subject.

Author Biography

Carine Mardorossian, Professor of English University at Buffalo 306 Clemens Hall Buffalo, NY 14260-4610 716 - 860 6168

Carine Mardorossian is professor of English at SUNY Buffalo where she specializes in feminist and postcolonial studies. Her book Framing the Rape Victim: Gender and Agency Reconsidered (Rutgers UP) was published in 2014 and was an extension of arguments she developed in her book Reclaiming Difference: Caribbean Women Rewrite Postcolonialism (Virginia UP, 2005). Her articles on Caribbean literature have appeared in Ariel, Callaloo, College Literature, Journal of Caribbean Literature, Research in African Literatures, Small Axe and in numerous anthologies. She is currently at work on a book project entitled “Creolized Ecologies” on the intersection of environmental and Caribbean studies.