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Esthie Hugo

Gender, Race and World-Ecological Literature: Plotting Women’s Work from the Plantation to the Present

I am a PhD student in Comparative Literature at Warwick University, Coventry. I am currently working on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which investigates World Literature through the commodity frontiers of the 20th century (see more here: My PhD project investigates the histories of women's work in the sugar and palm oil and coal industries, as mediated in Nigerian, British and Caribbean fiction.


  1. "A Spoonful of Sugar: Plotting Women’s Work from the Plantation to the Present", Plotting the Crisis: World-Ecology, World-Culture and the World-Food-System, forthcoming, Routledge.
  2. "Looking forward, looking back: animating magic, modernity and the African city-future in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon", Social Dynamics, 43, 1 (2017): pp. 46-58,

Conference Papers:

  1. 'Rotten Edens: Plantations, Palms and Palaces in Modern Britain and Beyond', Claps of Thunder: Disaster Communism, Extinction Capitalism and How to Survive Tomorrow, SOAS, 7-10 November 2019.
  2. “It is Us Who Groom and Weed Him”: The Gendered Ecology of Sugarcane in the Poetry of Grace Nichols', Postcolonial Studies Association Convention, University of Manchester, 11-13 September 2019.
  3. 'The White Gold and the Cheap Tree: Sugar, Palm Oil and the Development of the World-Ecology', Across Colonial Lines: Empires, Commodities, Movements, University of Leeds , 18 June 2019.
  4. 'The Literature of the World-Ecology: Reading for Palm Oil in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart ', New Postcolonial Concerns, Postgraduate Symposium, University of Cambridge, 15 June 2019.
  5. 'Commodity Frontiers and World-Ecological Fiction', The South West and the World-System,: Writing, the Environment and the Archives, University of Exeter, 5 June 2019.
  6. ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back: animating Magic, Modernity and the African City-Future in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon’, 17th Triennial Conference of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, Stellenbosch University, July 2016
  7. 'Hide and Sick: Gothic Pop Culture in the Contemporary South African Moment’, Locating the Gothic Conference, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, October 2014.
  8. ‘Sinister Surfaces: Contemporary South African Horror On Stage and Off’, Writing South Africa Now Postgraduate Conference, University of York, June 2014.


2016: Masters in Language, Literature and Modernity, University of Cape Town, Distinction (examined by Prof Jennifer Wenzel and Prof Sarah Nuttall)

2013: Honours in English Studies, University of Cape Town, First Class

Significant Awards:

2019: Oppenheimer International Scholarship, PhD study

2018: PhD Studentship, “World Literature and Commodity Frontiers”, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and based at the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.

2014: South African National Research Fund Scarce Skills Research Bursary for Masters in English Literature

Academic Editorial Work:

1.Young. S. Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019,

2. Pather, J & Boulle C. Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2019,


I currently teach on the Modes of Reading module for first year English students at Warwick.

Link to my page: