Transatlantic Extractivism in Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return


Drawing on theorizations of extraction and extractivism that emphasize the racialized violence of these processes, this article aims to attend to the “insurgent ecocriticism” of Black ecologies and Black geographies in an analysis of Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return. Brand speaks of a “rift,” the break with the past that the Door created, which permits the extractivist present. Opening the door to the buying and selling not of human labour but of human lives opened the way to the market valuation of every other thing. These dynamics are deeply relevant to Canadian ecocriticism not only because chattel slavery was constitutive of the British colonialism that produced (and produces) the environments of Canada, but also because this history of racialized plunder continues to serve White imperialist projects of contemporary Canadian extractivism at home and abroad.

This article “Transatlantic Extractivism in Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return” originally appeared in Poetics and Extraction 2 Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 253 (2023): 17-37.

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