Abstract

Both Global South studies and Ocean studies emerged as ways of investigating an increasingly global, transnational literary terrain that is no longer tied to nation-states or continental area studies formations. These fields usefully complement each other: Ocean studies stresses the importance of tracing networks of connection into the past, so that a historical Global South comes into view, while the concrete political and ethical solidarities at the heart of the Global South paradigm focuses Ocean studies on subaltern oceanic figures. This article defines the briny South, the intersection between Global South studies and Ocean studies, as the study of transoceanic networks of subaltern connection. After briefly touching on existing scholarship exemplifying the potential of the briny South, I turn to briny South networks of slavery and indenture in the Indian Ocean, both in historical sources and contemporary works of fiction. A briny South approach, I argue, combines the historical breadth and environmental focus of Ocean studies with the political and ethical drive toward understanding the subaltern experience of globalization that marks Global South studies.

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