ENGL 310 A01: Postcolonial Literature

O. Okome

Africa and the making of the Black Body in the Global North

Africa is a construction, and like other colonized locations across the globe, discourses around and about the continent were marked by discursive arbitrariness. This discursive legacy prevails even today. A significant aspect of this notion of arbitrariness was eloquently in colonial debates about the African body, the black body, and its inscrutable abode. Later legitimized by the Berlin Conference, also known as the Kongokonference (1884-1885), the physical occupation of African began much earlier with the discursive roots firmly established in the so-called European Age of Exploration in the 15th century. The anachronism of this phase is self-evident, so too was its self-aggrandized mission to map the continent and its people, creating a monolithic description of peoples and places. Needless to say, the maps generated during this period have had enduring consequences for black bodies even today. They are still conceived to offer “cogent” and “reasonable” scientific evidence why this body needs redemption. This course questions this popular ideological premise inscribed in European texts that promoted this idea, and seeks to understand the context in which they flourished in Europe and elsewhere in the world since the 16th century. Students who offer this course will be made to read two set of texts: popular colonial literary texts as well as texts produced by the colonized that became known as postcolonial literature. How do we define the “post” in postcolonial Anglophone African literature and why is it now inserted in the nebula of global neo-liberal activities?

Literary TEXTS (Tentative)*
Edgar Wallace---Sanders of the River
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mine
Chinua Achebe--- Things Fall Apart
Wole Soyinka--- Death and the King's Horseman
Amidou Kane, Ambiguous Adventure

Critical TEXT
Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. London: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.
Margaret Jean Hayes, African Novel in the Classroom. London: Lynn Reiner, 2000.
Elleke Boehme, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (Second Edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
*Do not buy any of these texts until you are told to do so after the first week of classes. Texts may change before commencement of classes