Postcolonial Imaginations and Moral Representations in African Literature and Culture
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Postcolonial Imaginations and Moral Representations in African Literature and Culture

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Following in the footsteps of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, the tenor of the postcolonial African culture has been justifiably anti-imperialist. In the 21st century, however, there has been a gradual but certain shift away from the "write-back" discourse paradigm, towards more integrative, globally inflected cultural interpretive models in Africa. This book celebrates the emergence of new interpretive paradigms such as in African philosophy, gender studies and literature.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 156 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 340.19g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739145061
  • 9780739145067
  • 2,148,112

Review quote

Eze (Northeastern Illinois Univ.) is aware of the many cultures of Africa, despite the title of his book, and he notes that the reader should acknowledge that Africa is not one monolithic culture. Eze takes issue with the delusion of Africa's racial innocence, a notion that has permeated world culture and literature and is largely due to Africa's violent encounters with Western powers. He asserts that there is a guilt-driven discourse in Africa and about Africa and seeks to challenge that. The text is divided into eight chapters. In chapter 1, Eze discusses the works of significant African writers and critics-Chinua Achebe, Moses Ebe Ochonu. In subsequent chapters he considers, among other things, the ideas of Edward Wilmot Blyden as a pioneer of pan-Negro thinkers in the West (and challenges many of Blyden's ideas, theories, and conclusions); the importance and monumental influence of Achebe's Things Fall Apart; and the role of the new African writers in regenerating the African mind. Readers with no knowledge of African literature, history, authors, and critics will find the book difficult to follow and understand. Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE In Postcolonial Imagination and Moral Representations in African Literature and Culture, Chielozona Eze undertakes the ambitious task of charting a new philosophical pathway for African self-empowerment. The strength of his effort rests on two audaciously provocative interventions. The book's rigorous analysis exposes the pitfalls of African cultural and literary discourses that thrive on the trope of victimhood and on the notion that morality and nobility are conferred by a history of foreign injury and oppression. Eze then posits a powerfully novel paradigm that moves African cultural discourses away from the politics and poetics of external culpability and blame and redirects them inward to scrutinize the possibilities and constraints of the African mind. Postcolonial Imagination provides a deft and lucid interrogation of an eclectic corpus of historical and contemporary texts, buttressing this analysis with an edifying rereading of familiar African classics from Achebe to Soyinka to Fanon. By summoning a vast repertoire of philosophical interpretation to complement his rich critique, Eze is able to craft a compelling argument for why any new projects of African cultural and political renaissance require a radical self-reflexivity that is missing from the existing African cultural, literary, and critical canons. -- Moses E. Ochonu, associate professor, Vanderbilt University With Postcolonial Imagination and Moral Representations in African Literature and Culture, Chielozona Eze makes an important and timely contribution to the urgent project of rethinking Africa. Abandoning the damaging tropes of victimhood and difference, the epistemologies of grievance and guilt and the reactionary stance of oppositionality, Eze joins key thinkers such as Kwame Anthony Appiah, Simon Gikandi and Achille Mbembe in advancing new ways of approaching Africa that depart from both imperial and nativist imaginaries of it as either 'dark' or 'wounded' continent. Favouring interdependence over independence, transculturation over authenticity, contamination over purity and responsibility over innocence, Eze engages African worldliness, solicits expansive solidarities, embraces dissonance and calls for the cultivation of empathy and unsentimental love of the African space and person. Wide ranging in content as it explores Africa's multilayered realities, this significant study helps to shift the debate on Africa in the direction in which we need to move. -- Meg Samuelson, Stellenbosch University Chielozona Eze radically combines the deep reflections of a philosopher and the intellectual combativeness of an ambitious literary critic to call for the redemption-given contemporary Africa's moral, political and cultural impasse-of what he aptly calls moral imaginations. Anyone who sees this book as apologia for western knowledge systems and values, or simply as rejection of the Africanist thought, totally misunderstands it. Postcolonial Imagination is, unabashedly, an indictment of reactionary postcolonial and nationalist ideas; a brilliant argument for the reinvention of African humanism for the twenty-first century and beyond. -- Chika Okeke-Agulu, Princeton Universityshow more

About Chielozona Eze

Chielozona Eze is associate professor of English and postcolonial studies at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.show more

Table of contents

Part I: Morality Born of the Feeling of Hurt Chapter One: Postcolonial States of Injury and Moral Imaginations Chapter Two: The Moral Reinvention of Africa Chapter Three: Things Fall Apart and the Invention of the African Culture Chapter Four: The Pitfalls of African Feminism Chapter Five: Robert Mugabe and the Symbolic Power of History Part II: Moral Values of the Awareness of Vulnerability Chapter Six: Frantz Fanon and the Search for New Discourse Paradigms Chapter Seven: Wole Soyinka and the Moral Foundations of Community Chapter Eight: Literature and the Task of Increasing the Sum Total of Humanityshow more