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Colonial Extensions, Postcolonial Decentrings

Cultures and Discourses on the Edge


Edited By Salhia Ben-Messahel and Vanessa Castejon

The essays assembled in this volume explore the meaning of the term "postcolonial" through various theoretical perspectives and disciplinary fields of expertise. They address issues ranging from culture, politics and history to literature and the arts, with particular emphasis on colonialist discourses within a postmodern and globalised world. Identity-formation, cultural space, indigeneity, colonial perspectives and anti-colonial struggles suggest that former imperial (and often marginalized) colonies/territories operate as decentring spaces, becoming dynamic postcolonial centres. The consequences of colonial history in postcolonial environments in the Americas, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the South Pacific regions are being analysed. This shows that postcolonial subjectivities call for a reconceptualization of the nation as political agency. The essays interrogate the social and psychological effects of colonialism, the political subjugation and instrumentalisation of colonial pasts and the perception of the self through the colonizer’s eyes, that may still surface in discourse on identity and belonging. The "postcolonial" is then a floating concept in a global environment where some individuals still experience a neo-colonial condition while others dismiss the colonial past but may yet re-enact colonial practices. The volume shows that the extension of a colonial centre, often raised in postcolonial criticism, is synonymous with the decentring of identity, and that the re-conceptualization of a Diasporic condition initiates a new postcolonial moment based in translation and on a new modernity.

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Calixthe Beyala’s Fiction: Disguised Writing? (Laurence Randall)


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Calixthe Beyala’s Fiction: Disguised Writing?

Laurence RANDALL

University of Westminster

This article deals with sub-Saharan literature and concerns in particular, the work of prolific Cameroonian author Calixthe Beyala, who has published 22 novels from the Diaspora since 1987. Published by major French publishing houses, Beyala received several awards including the Grand prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire for Maman a un amant (1993), the Prix François Mauriac of the French Academy and the Prix tropique for Assèze l’Africaine (1994) followed by the prestigious French Academy Grand Prix du Roman for Les Honneurs perdus (1996), the grand prix of UNICEF for the La Petite Fille du réverbère in 1998 and the Prix littéraire de l’Algue d’or in 2014 for her latest novel Le Christ selon l’Afrique. Despite this impressive record, the author is far from universally popular, to such an extent that her status on the French literary scene may be questioned. Unlike other Cameroonian authors, Beyala writes her novels in exile and she, in fact said, in an interview: “Si j’habitais le Cameroun, je n’aurais pas le droit à la parole. L’exil me donne la liberté qui m’est refusée, l’exil me donne la parole qui m’est refusée, l’exil est ma survie. Je ne dirais pas vie mais survie. Car si j’habitais au Cameroun aurais-je pu écrire et avoir cet impact international?”1 (Matateyou, 1996: 613). Beyala added in a second interview that “En Afrique,...

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