By Kadiatu Kanneh
This interesting and good researched examine explores the that means generated by way of `Africa' and `Blackness' in the course of the century. utilizing literary texts, autobiography, ethnography, and historic files, African Identities discusses how principles of Africa as an beginning, as a cultural complete, or as a sophisticated political troublesome, turn out to be signifiers for research of modernity, nationhood and racial distinction. Kanneh presents distinctive readings of more than a few literary texts, together with novels by means of: * Toni Morrison * Alice Walker * Gloria Naylor * Ngugi Wa Thiong'o * Chinua Achebe * and V.S. Naipaul. For somebody drawn to literature, background, anthropology, political writing, feminist or cultural research, this booklet opens up new parts of proposal throughout disciplines.
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Extra info for African Identities: Race, Nation and Culture in Ethnography, Pan-Africanism and Black Literatures
As figurative, fictional texts which engage with articulations of colonial structures of knowledge and confrontation, they open themselves to readings which echo the preoccupations of colonial 21 TH E M EAN I NG OF AF RICA anthropologies, the alternative realities of pre-colonial cultures, and the surplus meanings resisting the absolutism of cultural translation. 41 The haunting of the later text by Cary’s novel allows Things Fall Apart to be read as a counter-discourse, or as an oppositional refiguration of the previous text’s ethnographic imagination.
Every now and then, as Johnson walks among his guests, he makes a few dance steps, and sings through his nose, ‘England is my country, dat King of England is my king’. An old Yoruba trader in the corner, very drunk, with an English cloth cap on his head, sings the chorus with Johnson, and utters loud sobs. God knows what the word ‘England’ means to him. (pp. 40, 41) These sensual experiences of political and historical concepts are designated as peculiarly African qualities through their constant opposition to British expatriate ways of seeing Africa.
In opposition to Things Fall Apart, the novel presents itself as a distantiated commentary on subject matter which is both strange and known. The status of this knowledge is resolutely colonial, and the narrative is highly implicated in colonial constructions of Africa and racial difference, often presenting competing evaluations. ’43 That this objectivity is informed by the ‘displacement’ of colonial anthropology is evident in the way the text presents both Johnson and Nigerian communities as historically and experientially separate.
African Identities: Race, Nation and Culture in Ethnography, Pan-Africanism and Black Literatures by Kadiatu Kanneh