Victor Gomia, Gilbert S. Ndi,
Re-writing Pasts Imagining Futuresby: Victor Gomia, Gilbert S. Ndi,
This book is a collection of essays on various aspects of contemporary African fiction and theater. The breadth and depth of the collection speak to the innovative trends in African fiction and theater in an increasingly interconnected world. Whereas the views of the authors are inherently diverse, common grounds are gleaned in the commonality of the patterns of artistic visions shaped and given impetus by the peoples’ new world realities; in this sense, the essays are at the same time in dialogue with each other. In the context of colonial and neo-colonial legacies that seem to forestall any sense of individual and collective self-fulfillment, contributors to this volume examine the pertinence of African fiction and theatre in imagining new vistas of re-conceptualizing the postcolonial condition in ways that re-galvanize the belief in an enabling future.
The papers in this volume focus on fiction and theatre in their traditional forms as well as in their encounters with novel and innovative forms and avenues of dissemination. As a cultural practice that emerged from a process of protest and contestation of hegemony, it is understandable that one main concern in African literature and literary criticism is the resistance against the emergence of marginalizing centers in formerly or currently marginalized societies with regard to discourses, aesthetics and media of creation. These new centers that sometimes undermine the strategic/tactical exploitation of the relative advantage procured by each medium run the risk of leading to new forms of stratification that mitigate the import of African and African diasporic literatures. The collection of essays therefore seeks to analyze the representation of pertinent socio-political and historical questions in a variety of postcolonial texts from Africa and the African diasporas, notably the Caribbean islands and the United States of America. However, far from re-writing of history in a way that cedes to conservative worldviews, creative writers and critics simultaneously attempt to chart ways forward for socially all-inclusive futures. In the context of colonial and neo-colonial legacies that seem to forestall any sense of individual and collective self-fulfillment, contributors to this volume examine the pertinence of African fiction and theatre in imagining new vistas of re-conceptualizing the postcolonial condition in ways that re-galvanize the belief in an enabling future.
Praise for this Title
“The essays collected here appraise the vectors of African and African diasporic fiction and theatre while honoring the lifework of Eckard Breitinger whose career was devoted to understanding Africa’s complexity as a scholar, teacher, and publisher. Students and scholars of African literature and performance studies will appreciate the diverse currents of ideas in the book and the unity of the essays under the rubric of the social conditioning of African cultural productions. Victor Gomia and Gilbert Shang Ndi, both former students of Breitinger, deserve our gratitude for this labor of love. ”
Cajetan Iheka, author of Naturalizing Africa, Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Resistance in African Literature (Cambridge University Press)
Victor Gomia and Gilbert Ndi’s Re-writing Pasts, Imagining Futures: Critical Explorations of Contemporary Fiction and Theatre, written in celebration of the life of the distinguished German Africanist Eckhard Breitinger of Bayreuth University, is truly a critical exploration which bridges and unites the two continents in a unique, yet intellectually challenging fashion. It is a prismatic glimpse rotating and vacillating between the nexus of African and European academia, with studies from South Africa to North African, and West Africa to East Africa approached from a multicity of critical theories and paradigms. This critical text therefore has something for anybody interested in any regional literary studies of Africa and its global significance in today’s borderless society. The text is a landmark ready for exploration and consumption, and it rekindles in old minds a desire for youthful inquiry and in the old a desire for precocious maturity in literary gallantry.
Professor of English and Director of Quality Enhancement Plan
This is a timely publication which rekindles a conversation that has preoccupied lots of literary scholars. For decades, students and professionals studying African literature have employed the post-colonial lens to process any work that has been produced on the African continent and/or by people of African descent. While the postcolonial approach is still relevant in some cases, it is advantageous for the critic to have additional sets of tools with which to evaluate not only existing works, but more especially the creative productions of the new century. The wide range of essays assembled in Gomia and Ndi’s collection reflects the thoughtful process the editors went through to make the publication unique. Gomia and Ndi are uniquely aware that for most Africans, any form of art is an opportunity to initiate a change that could better people’s lives. The theme of “human improvement” ably holds together all entries in this text, making the case many of us have made to our students that studying literature enables us to analyze human situations and (in the process), grapple with possible solutions to human suffering. This is an ideal textbook selection for a twenty-first century college or university class investigating African literature. It is a comprehensive and contemporary overview of the literary masterpieces, and the book does so with an eye to the future. The editors and their contributing authors deserve commendation.
Dr. David Basena
Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages
Bowie State University
In this timely and much needed collection of essays, the authors set out on an interdisciplinary journey to re-imagine the postcolonial writing from Africa and the African diasporas. Re-writing Pasts, Imagining Futures. Critical Explorations of Contemporary African Fiction and Theater cuts new ground by linking socio-political analysis of the continental and diasporic contexts with close readings of literary texts, by focusing on two literary genres: drama and the novel. The book covers a wide range of issues, some of which have been neglected so far by scholars, such as radio drama, or the impact of social media on protest, while also revis(it)ing outdated or established ideas on gender, memory and identities. Instead of limiting their scope to one particular author, literary work or space, the contributors approach a diverse corpus from a comparative perspective, providing new insights to issues which are usually approached within a limited (national) context. Therefore, this book is a must-read for scholars and students in the fields of African literatures and writing from the Caribbean and African Diaspora; more broadly Re-writing Pasts, Imagining Futures deserves a place on the bookshelf of those working in the broader fields of postcolonial, performance and cultural studies.
Kristian Van Haesendonck, University of Antwerp
Publisher: Spears Media Press
Publish Date: 2017
Page Count: 262