What Does Racial Otherness Mean in African Literature?
A Panel Discussion
11:00 AM EST/ London, 4:00 PM/ Lagos, 5:00 PM/ Johannesburg, 6:00 PM/ Nairobi, 7:00 PM
The ALA YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@AfricanLiteratureAssociation
THE DISCUSSION: When the news of the award of the Nobel Prize in literature to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah broke in October 2021, an African writer welcomed the announcement with a tweet that read, in part, “May it shift the world's understanding of African literatures away from hegemonic ethnopatriarchy.” Acknowledged or not, there is a perception among African literature scholars that writers or communities viewed as belonging to Africa’s “racial others” are frequently marginalized. There are many historical antecedents for such a perception in the political realm as well, especially in East Africa. Yet, there are many established scholars whose work focus almost exclusively on such communities or groups as integral African experiences. Inspired by ALA president Gaurav Desai’s address at the end of the 2022 annual conference, this panel features scholars of African literature with research interests in Indian‐oceanic migration/literary and political culture, “white Africans,” and other ethnic categories often seen through the prism of race.
THE PANELISTS: Nienke Boer is Lecturer in World Literatures in English at the University of Sydney. Her book, The Briny South: Displacement and Sentiment in the Indian Ocean World (Duke University Press), is forthcoming in April 2023. | Grant Farred is the author, most recently, of The Zelensky Method (Westphalia Press, 2022) and Only A Black Athlete Can Save Us Now (University of Minnesota Press, 2022). | Emad Mirmotahari's expertise is modern African fiction, fiction from throughout the African diaspora, postcolonial literature, and world literature. He is also interested in translation studies and theory.