Universität Wien
Course Exam

140245 VO Issues in African Literature (2013S)

Monday 04.11.2013



Examination topics


Weekly schedule:
1) Introduction: The birth and development of African writing in English
(The colonial factor. Language. Audience. Relationship with orality. Missionary education factor. The publishing of African literature in English.)
2) The rise of national consciousness and modernity in Africa
Camara Laye, The Dark Child (1953)
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)
Ngugi, The River Between (1965)
Political autobiography
Chinua Achebe, 'Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness'
3) The role of the writer in Africa and the development of African literary aesthetics
('writing back' versus 'writing alongside' the Western tradition; politics versus aesthetics; the 'truth of fiction'; 'decolonizing the mind'; 'realism' versus 'modernism')
Chinua Achebe, 'The Truth of Fiction'
Chinua Achebe, 'Novelist as a Teacher'
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind
Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back
4) The African writer and the divided nation: marxism and African socialism
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Devil on the Cross (1980)
Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease (1960)
Ousmane Sembene, Xala (1974)
Armah, The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born (1968)
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, 'Writing against Neo-colonialism' (1988)
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, 'Writers in Politics: The Power of Words and the Words of Power'
Aye Kwei Armah, 'Masks and Marx'
5) The criticism of African literature: from commonwealth to postcolonial
Achebe, Chinua. 'Colonialist Criticism' (1974). Hopes and Impediments (1988), 46-61.
Biodun Jeyifo, 'The Nature of Things: arrested decolonization and critical theory' (1990)
Christopher Miller, 'Reading through Western Eyes' (1990)
6) The aesthetics and politics of Black writing: Negritude, Black Consciousness, Pan-Africanism
Negritude poetry
Senghor, 'Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth Century'
Irele, 'What is Negritude?'
Soyinka, 'Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Tradition'
Jean-Paul Sartre, 'Black Orpheus.' Introduction to Anthology of Negritude Poetry ed. by Senghor.
7) Women’s writing and feminism
Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions
Buchi Emecheta, Joys of Motherhood
Ama Ata Aidoo, 'To be an African Woman Writer'
Buchi Emecheta, 'Feminism with a small f'
8) Defining African modernism,
Dambudzo Marechera, The House of Hunger
Dambudzo Marechera, 'The African Writer’s Experience of European Literature'
Yvonne Vera, Without a Name
Yvonne Vera, 'Writing Near the Bone'
9) African postmodernism and magical realism
Ben Okri, The Famished Road (1990) (Nigeria)
Helon Habila, Waiting for an Angel (2001) (Nigeria)
Olaniyan, Tejumola, 'Postmodernity, Postcoloniality and African Studies', African Literature: An Introduction of Criticism and Theory, eds. Ato Quayson and Tejumola Olanyian, 637-645
Gaylard, Gerald, After Colonialism: African Postmodernism and Magical Realism (2005)
Cooper, Brenda. Magical Realism in West African Fiction (1998).
Quayson, Ato, 'Postcolonialism and Postmodernism', African literature: an anthology of criticism and theory, ed. Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson (Blackwell, 2007), 646-654
10) Diaspora writing
Biyi Bandele, The Street (1999)
Chika Unigwe, Black Sisters’ Street (2009)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 'The Arrangers of Marriage' (from The Thing Around Your Neck)
Helon Habila, 'Imigrants', Chika Unigwe, 'The Secret'
Brenda Cooper, A New Generation of African Writers (2008)
11) Queer writing
Sello Duiker, The Quiet Violence of Dreams (2001)
Chris Dunton, 'Wheyting be dat? The treatment of homosexulity in African literature'
12) Popular literature
13) The Caine Prize and the legitimation of African writing in the West

Assessment and permitted materials

Essay (10-12 pages, 2500-3000 words) due to August 31, 2013 to me by email.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

-) Identify, analyse and understand key political, aesthetic and philosophical issues in African literature in European laguages
-) apply theory to a variety of literary texts and reflect critically on the relations between primary texts and relevant secondary texts
-) discriminate between ideas and define personal positions and justify them intellectually
-) produce well-structured, relevant arguments with an appropriate intellectual framework

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:34