Light, energy and gendered oil gluttony: Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel’s challenges to petrocapitalism

Allan, Joanna (2019) Light, energy and gendered oil gluttony: Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel’s challenges to petrocapitalism. MFS: Modern Fiction Studies. ISSN 0026-7724 (In Press)

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Extraction companies and the political regime that they deal with in Equatorial Guinea rely on genderwashing narratives to justify their actions. That is, they claim to promote gender equality whilst, in reality, undermining women’s rights. Ávila Laurel challenges genderwashing narratives by laying plain how exploitation of women is linked to petrocapitalism. He does so through an aesthetic of gendered oil gluttony, which aims to disgust as well as to reveal the circumstances that drive sub-Saharan migrants towards a mythical ‘better life’ in Europe. Electric light works as a metaphor for this dream of prosperity in Ávila Laurel’s novel The Gurugu Pledge, and is also used as another tool to illustrate petrocapitalism’s gendered exploitations. But Ávila Laurel’s challenges to petrocapitalism go beyond the content of his work, I argue. Style and form borrowed from oral tradition reinforce the disruptive power of Ávila Laurel’s work, as does its distribution. Equatoguinean literature is – like the country’s oil - largely an export industry: it is consumed by North Americans, Brits and Spaniards, not by a local audience. In this way, it undermines extraction companies’ legitimacy in the latters’ countries of origin, illustrating literature’s capacity to challenge extractivism on several simultaneous levels.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Equatorial Guinea, Oil, Genderwashing, Petrocultures
Subjects: R400 Spanish studies
T500 African studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Joanna Allan
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 09:12
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 13:16

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