Colonialism, Culture, Whales: The Cetacean Quartet explores how our attitudes to whales, whale hunting, and whale watching expose colonial attitudes to the natural world in modern Western culture. Foraging across the disciplines and moving between ideas and methods drawn from postcolonial criticism, animal studies, and environmental humanities, Colonialism, Culture, Whales critically examines the colonial histories of whaling, their legacies in contemporary tourism from whale-watching excursions to the performing orcas at SeaWorld, and cultural representations of anxieties about extinction in recent literature, television, and film. Extensively researched and engagingly written, the four essays that comprise The Cetacean Quartet should appeal to scholars in a number of different fields as well as to general readers interested in finding out more about our enduring, guilt-ridden fascination with one of the world's most iconic living creatures, the whale.
1. Last Whales: Eschatology, Extinction and the Cetacean Imaginary in Winton and Pash
2. Sperm Count: The Scoresbys and the North
3. Killers: Orcas and Their Followers
4. Kind of Blue; or, The Infinite Melancholy of the Whale
Graham Huggan is Professor of English at the University of Leeds, UK. A leading postcolonial critic and environmental scholar, he is editor of the Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies (2013) and author of 14 books, including (co-written with Helen Tiffin) Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment (2010, 2nd ed. 2015) and Nature's Saviours: Celebrity Conservationists in the Television Age (2013).
"The whale swims in the gulf of comprehension between human and natural history, challenging us at every turn. In this riveting, diverting dissection of that fractured relationship, Graham Huggan teases out apposite cultural, literary and historical resonance to present a gripping new portrait of an animal that continues to defy our understating even as it inspires our admiration. Colonialism, Culture, Whales is a highly recommended voyage into the troubled, beautiful world shared by the human and the whale."
– Philip Hoare, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Southampton, UK
"Located at the nexus of ecocriticism, animal studies, postcolonial theory, and affect theory, Graham Huggan's Colonialism, Culture, Whales: The Cetacean Quartet is a valuable recent study."
– The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory