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Dystopian space in colonial representations and interventions: Sierra Leone as ‘the white man’s grave’

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This paper explores the power of dystopian imaginations. It does so by examining the form and function of dystopias in colonial contexts, both in general and through one particularly salient and significant colonial dystopia, which was known widely in imperial England as ‘the white man’s grave’. A detailed analysis of the form and function of dystopian accounts of Sierra Leone, with particular attention to Richard Burton’s negative appraisal of the colony, illuminates a particular form of geographical colonial discourse, and clarifies some of the power relations more generally associated with dystopian representations and interventions.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Salford University, Manchester

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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