Can the Sundarbans Speak?: Multispecies Collectivity in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children


  • Kuhelika Ghosh University of Wisconsin–Madison


multispecies collective, postcolonial nation, nonhuman agency, biosemiotics, Salman Rushdie


This article focuses on nonhuman agency in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children to offer an account of postcolonial multispecies collectivity as an alternative to the national collectivity that most previous scholars have seen at stake in that novel. Focusing particularly on the Sundarbans section of the novel, the article draws on multispecies justice and biosemiotics to recalibrate Gayatri Spivak’s question “Can the Subaltern Speak.” Ultimately, the article posits that the Sundarbans forest can indeed speak and that this agency highlights the need for postcolonial studies to more fully consider multispecies approaches and bioregionalism.

Author Biography

Kuhelika Ghosh, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Kuhelika Ghosh is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focuses on the intersection of postcolonial studies and the environmental humanities. She studies multispecies justice, agency, and queer kinships within contemporary Anglophone literatures. Her writing has appeared in Edge Effects.