Postcolonial Disaster studies literary fiction about crises of epic proportions in contemporary South Asia and Southern Africa: the oceanic disaster in Sri Lanka, the economic disaster in Zimbabwe, the medical disaster in South Africa and Botswana, and the geopolitical disaster in India and Pakistan. Pallavi Rastogi argues that postcolonial fiction about catastrophe is underpinned by a Disaster Unconscious, a buried but mobile agenda that forces disastrous events to narrate themselves. She writes that in disaster fiction, a literary Story and its real-life Event are in constant dialectic tension. In recent disasters, Story and Event are tied together as the urgency to circulate information and rebuild in the aftermath of the disaster dictates the flow of the narrative. As the Story acquires temporal distance from the Event, such as the seventy-three years since the partition of India in 1947, it plays more with form and theme, to expand beyond a tale about an all-consuming tragedy. Story and Event are in a constant dance with each other, and the Disaster Unconscious plays the tune to which they move.
Rastogi creates a narratology for postcolonial disaster fiction and brings concepts from Disaster Studies into the realm of literary analysis.