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African Literature & Cold War Afterlives: Reframing Decolonial Trajectories

Over 50 years ago, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Taban Lo Liyong and Henry Owuor published their resistant manifesto titled “On the Abolition of English Literature,” asking for the end of Eurocentric literary studies in higher education. Too few universities adopted this plan and every few years, find themselves in a state of crisis when it comes to strategically decolonizing syllabi, curricula and the university itself. Within these struggles, African literature finds itself in a precarious position within the fraught and contentious space of diversity initiatives in American universities and in American publishing. Join us on October 21, as we speak with Bhakti Shringarpure about the crucial role Cold War history plays in understanding decolonization as an “arrested” or “failed” phenomenon in the realms of politics, economics or culture. 

Bhakti Shringarpure is Associate Professor of English at University of Connecticut (Storrs) and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Warscapes. She is the author of Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (2019) and co-translator of Kaveena, a novel by Senegalese writer Boubacar Boris Diop (2016). Her edited works include Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan (2016) and Imagine Africa, Volume 3 (2017). Her writing has also appeared in the Guardian, The Funambulist, the Los Angeles Review of BooksLiterary Hub, and Africa Is a Country, among others.

This event is part of the Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa Workshop and co-sponsored by the Stanford University Department of English, the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL), and materia, a DLCL Focal Group. 

Event Sponsor: 
Stanford Humanities Center, English
October 21, 2020 - 10:00pm