Thursday, April 3, 2014
Sunday, March 30, 2014
African literature has done a great deal to form the conventional wisdom about the cultural side of colonialism, that conventional wisdom being that African societies used to be communitarian, spiritual, and close to nature, but then these virtues were eroded by contact with the individualistic, calculating, and earthly-minded West. This generalization has enough truth in it to make a good starting point (at least for thinking about the cultural side of colonialism; the political and economic sides are obviously something else again). Unfortunately, when pressed to go into more detail about the exact nature of the West’s cultural inferiority, the argument often runs like this:
“The West is materialistic. It is spiritually impoverished.”
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Since the end of the Cold War and, in particular, the demise of apartheid in South Africa, there has been a sustained debate about African identity. There seems to be a consensus among scholars of African culture that the conventional notion of African identity that was conceived in opposition to the West is anachronistic. But what then constitutes the new African? Scholars have suggested concepts such as contamination, cultural hybridity, cultural mutt, conviviality, and most recently Afropolitanism, as means to understand the complex modern African identity. This article takes a critical examination of Afropolitanism and argues that it is an enunciation of the ideas of contamination, hybridity, hyperculturality and other postmodernist terms that disrupt essentialist and oppositional notions of African culture and identity. I hope to achieve two things in this article: situate Afropolitanism within a larger philosophical tradition of cosmopolitanism and examine the moral implications of expanding the notion of African identity beyond the oppositional model.
You can actually download the PDF from this site
Sunday, February 9, 2014
A nice review:
The first lesson of the writer is that the reader is most interested in the story that the writer is most loath to narrate. That story, that most personal of narratives, is the story that the writer is best equipped to tell. In LH&BN, Afam Akeh approaches the story of the poet persona’s exile and narrates it almost autobiographically. This title poem is an emigrant’s mea culpa to his home, and his explication to the land of his sojourn. The poet is the ‘gecko/ seeking warmth/ behind shut doors’. The trope of nostalgia is the worn coin of exilic writers but an emotion is no less valid for having been felt by millions before. Afam lends fresh ink to the exile’s vulnerabilities:
Thursday, January 30, 2014
SBF: What are you trying to come to terms with in your poetry?
Warsan: My own humanity. In a way, try to maybe justify some of the choices that maybe my parents made, like things that had taken place and I resented for a long time. To give everybody a fair voice, give myself a fair voice. And recently, I’ve been trying to play around with the landscape of memory and reshape it and reclaim it and find what it is that connects all of us, or whatever connects the bad to the good, too.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
"This piece is an attempt to refocus an exciting conversation going around the blogosphere which could benefit from an open-minded discourse on the term “Afropolitan.” I believe this is a conversation we must have as Africans. How we shape this dialogue will influence the perception of a huge generation existing now, but going forward, will also help shape a variety of identities around the world. While we are all unique, and are free to express ourselves however we feel, I disagree with Marta Tveit’s assertion that “The Afropolitan Must Go,” I believe “Afropolitans can come or go.”
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Unlike Tveit, when I first heard “Afropolitan” I was excited. I am always looking for language that expresses my position as an Irish/Nigerian woman who is deeply connected to her Nigerianness. I’d rather refrain as describing myself as half anything, and I detest the word mixed-race. I thought perhaps Afropolitan presented an alternative to this terminology and, interestingly, positioned me with others through a shared cultural and aesthetic leaning rather than a perceived racial classification. Further, the term identified that you could be black or African without having to subscribe to the depressingly limited identities widely perceived as being authentic.