The Cultural Identity and Memory Studies Institute welcomes Professor Bhakti Shringarpure from the University of Connecticut's Department of English and IASH, Edinburgh, as part of its Seminar Series.
Over 50 years ago, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Taban Lo Liyong and Henry Owuor published their manifesto titled “On the Abolition of the English Department,” asking for an end to the mandatory study of white European literature in literature departments. In its place, they offered a deeply considered plan for the study of African literature and languages. Despite these early and largely ignored interventions, universities continue to find themselves in a state of crisis when it comes to decolonizing education, increasing diversity, and transforming the research environment. Within these struggles, the production, publication and the study of African literature finds itself caught in a multitude of historical, cultural and institutional forces. Unlike its European or American counterparts, its lack of fixity and fluctuating sense of self is simultaneously an exciting challenge and a source of frustration. We have entered a peak period for African literature worldwide, but these progressive directions can also reinforce past patterns that have been brought about by colonial disruptions to publishing and cultural formations, and these continue to impact the way Africa and Africans are being represented to themselves in the literature being produced. I return to the histories of the Cold War, arrested decolonization, and skewed genealogies of postcolonial literature in order to speculate on how African literary futures can be reframed.
This event is free and open to students and staff from any discipline.
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