Postcolonial African literary and visual arts: A father's death as allegory of dislocated culture

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University of Michigan, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 240 pages
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Based on the reading and analysis of two novels, Valentin Yves Mudimbe's Entre les eaux (1973), and Justine Mintsa's Histoire d'Awu (2000), and a film by Ousmane Sembene, Guelwaar (1993), I analyze various depictions and symbolism pertinent to mourning rituals after a father's death as an allegory of a dislocated culture. This dissertation puts in dialogue two Francophone African tendencies. Cheikh Anta Diop (1960) and his followers Theophile Obenga (1973), and Mveng (1972), to name only a few, urge Africans to return to pre-colonial African culture identified with a mythical Pharaonic Egypt in order to recapture the dignity of African identity in postcolonial Africa. In contrast, philosophical critics such as Valentin Yves Mudimbe (1988; 1994) and Paulin Hountondji (2002) charge that to portray an idealistic past of Africa is to depict culture from a deceptive perspective. Ancestral structures were not totally destroyed during the colonial era. Some have survived. Postcolonial societies are made of these cultural remnants mixed with colonial imports. Mudimbe hence proposes an academic approach to culture that would promote a plural discourse in a multicultural community.

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