full name / name of organization: 
Ademola Dasylva
contact email:

Date July 3-6, 2008.

Introduction: Documentary of History
Literature continues to serve us as universal language, primarily because
the general human community subscribes to its aesthetic and spiritual
experience. Long before the age of writing, our forebears found a quick
ally in its oral form, which in turn came to impact substantially on the
role of the traditional “remembrancer” and other succeeding generations
in the community and stately courts of African indigenous society.

In spite of the shifting contexts between the age of the quill and the
cursor, literature’s fidelity to archiving and documenting social and
historical processes remains unwavering. Indeed, literature in
contemporary society has become a highly contested space for contending
interest and social groups for affirmation and identity validation. The
African experience in genre definition suggests that in documenting the
social history of groups and nations, vested interests contested for the
soul of literature, sometimes, succeeding in wrong-twisting its narrative
tongue for exclusionary projects, especially in relation to biography and
autobiography writing, besides the threat it poses to History-qua-
history. Evidence of this tension dates as far back as the institutions
of the court poet, troubadour and minstrelsy practices of (sometimes
lineage groups of) the griot, maroka, mbogini, and akewi, through the
western Sudan to the southern cone of the continent. Musicians and music
makers have had to grapple with this situation in different ways.

It is precisely the diversity of possibilities afforded literature as an
important documentary of social and historical processes in the African
continent that the Conference seeks to explore. The different phases of
literary practice and historical documentation to be explored include:

A) Oral Literature
B) Written Literature
C) Fiction and Non-Fiction Dichotomy
D) Documentaries, Theory and Practice
E) Literature in Nation Building (Role Modeling)
F) Modern African Literature and the Digital Interface.

It is hoped that this structure will allow for a chronological
construction of the theme in the different regions of the continent. The
first phase of (a) oral literature will serve as background to how
literature aids historical documentation. It will also be integrated into
the style by which this is accomplished, especially through the
exploration of the earliest oral- inflected modes of the literary and
historical documentation. The next stage represents the two phases of
post-colonial encounter in (b) Written Literature, and (c) Modem African

The conference will seek to identify the overlapping features of the
different phases both in style and thematic concern. Beyond this, it will
also buttress sub-themes and cross-cutting themes of the different phases
in the continent.

1) Orality, History and Memory
2) Literature as a Communicative Process
3) Genres as Documentary
4) Auto/Biography: Agenda for Endangered Gender
5) Literature and the Post-Colonial Encounter
6) Electronic Post-modernism and the Recovery of Memory
7) Post-Modernism and Memory Re-(De-) Construct
8) Literature and Censorship
9) Readers and Social Reaction to Literature
10) Relationship between Literature and other disciplines: Linguistics,
Sociology, Psychology,
      Religion, Visual Art, Art history, Etc.
11) Exile & Site of African Writing / History
12) Child Soldiers & African Writing / History
13) Myth vs. History
14. Myth as History / Literature
15. Divination as Literature / History
16. History, Philosophy, Literature, & Interface
17. Women Writers & History
18. Oral-Written Interface & History
19. Diaspora Writers & African (Memory) History.

Without prejudice to the individuality of the sub-themes, the conference
will also highlight the significant cross-cutting themes over the period.
Crew-Cutting Themes
1) Grand Narrative
2) Identity Formation
3) Deification and Reification of Power
4) Dominance, Marginality and Counter-Discursivity
5) Gender and the Representation of the Female Body in Literary Text

Deadline for submission of Abstracts, April 7, 2008.

Closing date for submission of full conference papers of accepted
abstracts, June 6, 2008

Convener: Ademola O. DASYLVA
Reader, Department of English,
University of Ibadan,
Ibadan, Nigeria.
E-mail: OR

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Received on Sun Jan 27 2008 - 09:07:35 EST

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