Nar*Rating Environmentalisms: Non*Human in Figurations Knowledges on Conservation, Endangerment and Environmental Justice in Selected Kenyan Eco-narratives.


James Wachira

Research Area:


This study is on poetry and knowledge production. Specifically, it focuses on a critical reading of selected ritual poetry of the Samburu and Maasai of Doldol. The reading aims at critiquing: first, the fictional representation of the nonhuman in the ritual poetry. The nonhuman in the poetry comprises some plants; goddesses, mountains, rivers and livestock. Second, it aspires to analyse the agency of the nonhuman in the figuration and representation of the Samburu and Maasai indigenous ecological knowledge that finds representation in the genre. The interpretation aspires to explain how ecological crises like drought and floods constitute agency that accounts for the creation of the poetry. The poetry transforms into a space where these communities figure and represent how ecological crises affect them, hence, a justification of the ultimate aim and need to mitigate them. Thus, the critique of the poetry hopes to also explain the way the poetry serves as an epistemological space through which the communities concretize the desires.