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Fictions of African Dictatorship

Cultural Representations of Postcolonial Power


Edited By Charlotte Baker and Hannah Grayson

Fictions of African Dictatorship examines the fictional representation of the African dictator and the performance of dictatorship across genres. The volume includes contributions focusing on literature, theatre and film, all of which examine the relationship between the fictional and the political. Among the questions the contributors ask: what are the implications of reading a novel for its historical content or accuracy? How does the dictator novel interrogate ideas of veracity? How is power performed and ridiculed? How do different writers reflect on questions of authority in the postcolony, and what are the effects on their stories and modes of narration? This volume untangles some of the intricate workings of dictatorial power in the postcolony, through twelve close readings of works of fiction. It interrogates the intersections between real and literary space, exploring censorship, political critique and creative resistance. Insights into a wide range of lesser known texts and contexts make this volume an original and insightful contribution to scholarship on representations of dictatorship.

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Notes on Contributors

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Notes on Contributors

CHARLOTTE BAKER is Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on Francophone and Anglophone African literature. She is working on a monograph examining the critical engagement of post-independence West African writers with dictatorship. She is also interested in the potential of the arts to bring about social change, particularly for people in sub-Saharan Africa with the genetic condition albinism, and has published widely in this field.

ALYA EL HOSSEINY holds a PhD from New York University's Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. She focuses on Global South comparatism, modernity, and the construction of national identity, and her dissertation, titled ‘Strange and Stranger(s): Constructing Hybrid Modernity Through a Reading of Latin American and Arabic Prose’, analyses themes of strangeness and estrangement in nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels.

ANGIE EPIFANO is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Chicago. She received her BA from Lewis & Clark College. Her research centres on Francophone West African art in the modern period, with a specific focus on the art of Guinea. Her research interests include the use of art in defining ethnic and national identity in Guinea between 1880 and 1960. She is currently working on issues of trade and material culture in the Wassoulou Empire.

HANNAH GRAYSON is a lecturer in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Stirling. Her research interests include trauma, memory, and the relationships between subjects and space in situations of adversity. She held previous positions at the University of St Andrews and Durham University, having completed a PhD in Francophone postcolonial literature at the University of Warwick. ← 251 | 252 →

RITA KERESZTESI is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. Her research and teaching focus on African and African diaspora literary and cultural studies: the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts/Black Power, Afro-Caribbean literature and cinema, and postcolonial African cinema. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 2010–2011. She is the author of Strangers at Home: American Ethnic Modernism between the World Wars (Nebraska 2005).

ELINE KUENEN holds an MA in Francophone literature from Radboud University. She currently teaches French in Lyceum Elst in Elst and also carries out research on the role of Francophone culture in secondary school curricula at Radboud University. Her research focuses on postcolonial African literature written in French.

KHALID LYAMLAHY is a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford (St Anne’s College) currently working on Moroccan Francophone literature. After a career as a civil engineer, he studied French and Comparative Literature at Université Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle and joined Oxford in 2015. Beyond the scope of his thesis, he is interested in French and Francophone contemporary fiction, autobiographical writing, and literary theory. He has contributed to several journals including The Journal of North African Studies, Expressions Maghrébines and Revue Roland Barthes. He has also published a novel, Un Roman Etranger (Paris: Présence Africaine Editions, 2017).

LORENZO MARI is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Insubria. His current research interests include failed-state fiction in the Somali and Nigerian global diasporas. Together with Rita Monticelli, he has recently co-edited a special issue of De-Genere. Journal of Postcolonial, Literary and Gender Studies (December 2017) on transnational feminist and LGBTQ solidarity in contemporary literature and arts.

F. FIONA MOOLLA is a lecturer in the English Department at the University of the Western Cape. She is the author of Reading Nuruddin Farah: The Individual, the Novel & the Idea of Home (James Currey, 2014), and the ← 252 | 253 → editor of Natures of Africa: Ecocriticism and Animal Studies in Contemporary Cultural Forms (Wits University Press, 2016), among other academic and non-academic publications. She currently leads a project on romantic love in African literature and culture.

ASANTE LUCY MTENJE holds a PhD in English studies from Stellenbosch University, where she is currently an African Humanities Program postdoctoral fellow in the English department. Her research interests include gender and sexualities, Afro-diasporic literature and Malawian popular arts. She has published on the work of Doreen Baingana, Violet Barungi, and Moses Isegawa.

MARIA MURESAN holds a PhD in French and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, New York, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. She authored the book Time and Private Languages: Wittgenstein, the Japanese poet and Proust in Jacques Roubaud’s work of memory and is currently finishing a second book on African Sorcery Fiction: The Historicity of Literature in the Age of Globalization. She has published articles and book chapters on twentieth-century French, African and African-American poetry, fiction and philosophy.

BINDI NGOUTÉ LUCIEN holds a Phd in Literature and African Civilization. He is currently a research lecturer and in charge of curriculum studies in the Department of Social and Management Sciences at the Institut Universitaire de la Côte (Douala-Cameroon). His research focuses on myths, political ideologies and literary imagology. He has published on Tierno Monénembo and Ahmadou Kourouma, and is also a novelist (Contrôle Djarguina, Paris, Editions EDILIVRE, 2014), and poet (Paroles d’entrailles, Paris, Editions EDILIVRE, 2017).

TERESA SOLIS holds a PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Nanterre (2015). She is attached to the CRIX (Centre de Recherches Italiennes) of the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. Her main research interests are Italian postcolonial literature and heritage, migration identity dynamics, and gender studies. She has published on contemporary Italian ← 253 | 254 → literature and literature written by Italian authors from the Horn of Africa, including Carla Macoggi, Kaha Mohamed Aden, Mohamed Aden Sheick, Igiaba Scego, Cristina Ali Farah, Shirin Ramzanali Fazel, Garane Garane, and Erminia Dell’Oro.

KERRY VINCENT is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Theatre, Acadia University, Canada, where he teaches postcolonial literature. He has published articles on African literature in Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, Research in African Literatures, African Studies, and Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

MADELEINE WILSON is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She is a recipient of the UNSW Research Excellence Award. Her research centres on African literatures, particularly the political use of the body as a symbol for the state in contemporary African novels.