Fulfills Comm B, Literature, Elementary
African literature is suffused with violence because violence can often bring into sharp focus social and political conflicts. In order to analyze the crucial role that violence plays in selected fictional and dramatic works, we’ll explore how they represent the links between history, culture, and gender. Since the history of contacts between Africa and Europe is founded on violence (slavery, racism, and colonialism), many of the early texts we examine openly resist colonial violence, at times justifying even advocating violent resistance themselves. More recently, however, a younger generation of writers has come to question both the ethical grounds and the specific forms of these “freedom struggles.” They ask, for instance, to what extent were these struggles ultimately reducible to a “war between men” over territory that is gendered female and women’s bodies that are imagined as territories. As a result, what other kinds of violence (gender, economic, ethnic, judicial …) may be pushed to the margins, silenced, or even legitimized? What limits to narratives of anti-colonial resistance do more recent works either directly or implicitly point to? Do specific facets of colonial violence reemerge only in slightly modified form in the post-colonial period? These are some of the key questions we will consider.