Sarah Nuttall

Sarah Nuttall

University of the Witwatersrand
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Sarah Nuttall is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and Director of WISER at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has published many books and her work is widely cited across disciplines. Most recently, she is co-editor of a special issue of Interventions entitled ‘Reading for Water’ and of the book Hinterlands: Extraction, Abandonment, Care. Her monograph On Pluviality is forthcoming.

Talk Information:

On Pluviality: Rain as Method
October 7, 2022 | 9:00 AM

In the context of climate change, scholars such as Isabel Hofmeyr have drawn together the critical insights of postcolonial theory with elemental media studies to explore the implications of overlaying the hydrological cycle onto imperial and post-imperial cartographies. My own effort aims at refining an incipient method or mode of reading for rain, which I have called pluviality. I register and explore the part of that cycle that is the pluvial (rain that causes flooding). More specifically, I displace the hydrocolonial from the ocean, the coast and the port city, inland, to the river basins, flood plains and wet atmospheres of southern Africa. Re-reading literary texts and other media for rain, I argue, allows us to craft a novel narrative method mediating human and nonhuman worlds through rain.

For further reading:

Sarah Nuttall (2022) On Pluviality: Reading for Rain in Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift, Interventions, 24:3, 323-339,

Isabel Hofmeyr, Sarah Nuttall & Charne Lavery (2022) Reading for Water, Interventions, 24:3, 303-322,