Pheng Cheah is Professor of Rhetoric and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of
World Heritage Preservation and the Expropriation of Subaltern Worlds
This chapter is a study of Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide as an exploration of the degradation of the subaltern world of the Sundarbans by state and local government projects of modernization and international wildlife preservation movements. It argues that although the novel has faith that subaltern stories and myths can hold the subaltern world together by making the outside world recognize subalterns as autonomous subjects with a viable world, it also gestures to a force of worlding that cannot be reduced into a divine force.