Philip Aghoghovwia

MA (Ibadan), PhD (Stellenbosch)

My teaching, research and ethical commitments are in environmental humanities, postcolonial literatures, and energy and water studies. My work explores literary depictions of place and community life in the context of resource extraction, especially concerning oil and water. My interest in place and resource extraction is borne out of my own experience of place, an environment blighted by “the resource curse”. Born in the Niger Delta, the quintessential theatre of oil extraction in Africa, I grew up observing the paradox inherent in this bioregion. The Niger Delta is a landscape with prodigious oil reserves and overwhelming social and ecological deprivations, a situation that elicits a rich body of environmental writing and at the same time fashions a culture of militancy whose politics of resistance exacerbates the issues it purports to address. Global insatiable hunger for natural resources and desperate forms of community resistance combine to decimate the local environment and community life. The passion to apprehend these incongruities has fired my interests and education in postcolonial studies and African literature, giving me the lens, personal experience and the appropriate vocabulary needed for engaging them.  

My objectives as a university teacher are to have students understand the fundamental content of text – its critical readings, approaches, and themes, and the contexts in which these apply. I encourage student to develop critical and problem solving skills that they can apply to textual reading and to the course in general, acuity that must reflect their own positioning as agential learners. In this way, students are able to make critical interventions that are informed not by the logics of collective speak and virtue signalling but by nuance understanding and appreciation of the issues and concepts under discussion.  

Areas of Interest

My research is in environmental humanities, African literatures, energy and water studies, and the cultures and politics of resource extraction in the postcolonial world. My most recent works have appeared in Routledge (2023), Interventions (2022), Cambridge University Press (2022), and my recent monograph titled Violent Ecotropes: Petroculture in the Niger Delta, published by HSRC Press, Cape Town (2022).

Scholarly Work