AuthorHounfodji, Raymond G.
Advisord'Almeida, Irène A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBoth African writers and literary critics have long used the ideology of "Négritude" and the political commitment it generated as the theoretical basis for their works. However, since independence in Africa, this common practice started to lose momentum due to a shift in the social and political realities. Furthermore, in recent decades, new generations of African writers have moved away from the "Négritude" movement's beliefs. Nevertheless, there are still some nostalgic writers and critics who cling to this historic movement that shaped African literature and thought for half a century. The above two trends paved the way for my starting hypothesis: is it still possible to evaluate what Abiola Irele calls the "African imagination" in the narrative, and especially novels, without the traditional criteria of political commitment and ideology? To answer this fundamental question, I define my analytical method as a "politiscopie." This neologism is formed in the image of the word "radioscopie." "Politiscopie" combines the stem for politics, "politi-," with the suffix "-scopie," from the Latin scopium (instrument for viewing) and the Greek skopein (to look at). And I define "politiscopie" as the analytical examination of political discourse in literary text. This examination is stripped of the conscious or unconscious analytical tendency that I call "l'humeur idéologique des critiques," or "the ideological mood of critics. "This dissertation is divided into two parts and an introduction, in which I define political discourse based on L'archéologie du savoir by Michel Foucault. The first part--chapters one and two--is a "politiscopical" examination, an examination of political discourse in African novels since 1990. I discuss the explicit and implicit political discourse present in the considered novels. In the second part--chapters three and four, I attempt to tease out the triangular relationship between Africa, the writer, and the relevant political realities. I investigate the political representation of Africa by the new generations of African writers, and then I look at the impact of distance on those writers to see whether the location of the authors--abroad or on the African continent--affects the way they treat African political debates.
Degree ProgramGraduate College