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Tangible Voice-Throwing: Empowering Corporeal Discourses in African Women’s Writing of Southern Africa

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Bettina Weiss

This study is the first book-length analysis of African women’s writing of Southern Africa with a focus on writing the body. The thesis is that women are not voiceless, but hold a powerful, liberating potential: they «throw their voices» by implementing a strategic corporeal. Notably, this mode is not carried out in a way of emphasising corporeal difference by lack, but by attributing positive markers to the body. It reaches beyond a speaking which only represents women’s thoughts and emotions physically – a mode which might render the impression that they are incapable of expressing their conceptions and sentiments linguistically. It is an empowerment that reflects their skill to break up the bonds between language and body. This study is wide-ranging in its choice of authors and themes.

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Acknowledgement 11

Extract

Acknowledgement A big THANK YOU to Prof. Dr. Flora Veit-Wild of Humboldt University in Berlin, who supervised my study; I am grateful for her valuable support and advice; to Prof. Dr. Elmar Schenkel of the University of Leipzig, for co-examining this thesis and whose positive attitude and open-mindedness has made it easier for me to begin with this study; to the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) in Bonn, who funded my three- month study trip to Southern Africa in 2002. I gained first-hand experience and could collect material and background information which otherwise would not have been possible; to Annari van der Merwe of Kwela Books, South Africa, who helped to entangle the literary scenery at the first stage of the project; to all scholars, fellow doctoral students, and friends — too many to name — for enlightening discursive exchanges on the topic; and last, but not least to Susan Stith for unrelentlessly and patiently proofreading the draft versions on the other side of the globe with a hawk-like eye. 11

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