Mohammad Shabangu: "Nomadic Authorship: The Double Bind of African Migrant Writing"

  • Datum: –14.00
  • Plats: Engelska parken - Eng6-0031
  • Arrangör: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Mats Rosengren
  • Seminarium

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Mohammad Shabangu, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa: "Nomadic Authorship: The Double Bind of African Migrant Writing"

Ordf.: Mats Rosengren

“Nomadic Authorship and the Unavoidable Double Bind: E.C. Osondu’s Voice of America and NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names”. It is increasingly clear that a necessary component of any critique or analysis of globalisation as represented in various forms of literature will hinge on theoretical presuppositions that are firmly rooted in the North Atlantic discursive space, despite the self-declared radicality of critical theory or the autocritique often claimed by postcolonial theory proper. There has been a great body of work that addresses the migrancy of contemporary African writers and that attempts to examine the material realities of their multiple worlds and languages. Brenda Cooper’s illuminating book A New Generation of African Writers: Migration, Material Culture & Language deals, as the title suggests, with some of the ways in which writers use the (English) language not simply as a nomenclature or within a semiotic system, but as a constant negotiation in finding ways of articulating their fractured realities and multiple lives or identities.

In her similarly probing book, Translated People, Translated Texts, Tina Steiner accounts for the machinations of language in relation both to identity and culture in contemporary migration narratives. The significance and vision of their work notwithstanding, both Cooper and Steiner proceed from the accepted notion of globality. While their works perform a considerably different function to my thesis, they nevertheless deal with the end-state of globalisation, or globality, the point at which globalisation’s imperatives (as primarily a force of cultural creolisation) have apparently been ‘reached’. What this thesis attempts to do, contrarily, is to apply pressure to the very idea that globalisation at the level of cultural production exists.

Put differently, I intend to show that there are significant levels of the globalising process, characterised by ethico-political peculiarities as well as economic eventuation that have, hitherto, rarely been sublated into current epistemological assertions of contemporary globalisation.  In other words, the prevailing methodological procedures in analyses of migrant and diasporic subjects focus almost plainly on cultural manifestations as though authorial positionality and autonomy were a matter simply of cultural interstition and identitarian politics. In highlighting the machinations of cultural conscription and finance capital on a global scale, I argue that while there exist certain globalising protocols, processes and effects, there is a sense in which globalisation qua globality does not exist.