full name / name of organization:
Professor K. Zito Brown / International Research Confederacy on African Literature and Cuture
The 2011 Textbook-Journal of Black Literature
The spirit of Africa as manifested in her great cultural forms which first spoke to the world through the art of Egypt speaks yet again to the contemporary age through the complex variety of modern black literatures. And while as expressed through the medium of native tongues it has been understood by only a small part of the world, yet through its complex interaction with other linguistic and cultural traditions Black has moved the world through her art.
We can agree, for instance, that the African novel in its very genre has proven to disembowel colonist, literary tendencies and philosophies and assumed for itself an independent position in the landscape of World Literature. We have been witnesses to canonical and upcoming texts that adhere to the formula of African, and not merely Western, writing whose characters attest to the survival of ancestral, ontological identities that can be attributed an African literary antecedent. Recently too, there have emerged insightful perspectives into multiple temporal and spatial realities and the state of the indigenous person in coeval space and time where colonial grand and counter-narratives, et cetera, can all be processed together so that the interconnections and the understanding of indigeneity and its potential application for positive change could more clearly be seen in its fullest possible human ramifications.
Deeper investigations of black identities in modern black texts signify the dispersal of peoples of African descent in a redemptive narrative suggesting that the diasporic body can only be re-born through its reconciliation with its mysterious and controversial past. This commemoration of the ancestral heritage which anchors the diasporic subject to its own uncertain present has further been shown for its capacity to redeem the dead and forgotten past. The cultural reclamation of an African origin and/or roots as tied to the solemn remembrance of the Ancestor has demanded the intense attention of enlightened black writers for the social and psychic revaluation of their generation and others that follow.
Our 2011 Textbook edition of the African Journal #8 will pursue the examination of such readily established writings from Africa and her Diaspora and the permutations of several emerging Black literary traditions within the continent and beyond. Contemporary Black Literature (CBL) will therefore provide the comparative bridge for the eternal communion of black literary and mythological heritage which inhere in resuscitating the past as a means of restoring lost values. Although it has been argued that this process of resuscitation, recycling and reintegration will not totally erase assimilated and eclectic modern values that have almost distorted the present, we can agree that the limelight on what has been rejected or ignored for centuries in the attempt to commend the process of Black integration in postcoloniality and postmodernity is the natural building block of a vibrant continental literature
As usual, contributions from scholars of Black and African writing are welcome but researchers and theoretical exponents should be quite prepared and willing to work with the editors in sharing and propagating knowledge about the Black experience in modernity, its tensions at various political, social, economic and psychological levels of African communal and individual existence, and its possible remediation through an imaginative articulation of the greater unity and higher prospects in the diversities, hybridity and fusions that are embedded in the external and subjective realities of the black world.
Selected Reading from the Journal of African Literature and Culture, No. 7:
James A. Porter “The Trans-Cultural Affinities of African Art”;
Rosetta Codling “African spaces in European places: Aminatta Forna’s Ancestor Stones and Donato Ndongo’s Shadows of Your Black Memory”;
Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmán “Bi-living, Time and Space: LeAnne Howe's Shell Shaker and Chin Ce's The Visitor”
Shirley J. Carrie “’Genealogies of the Spirit’: Ancestral Reclamation in the dramas of August Wilson”;
Divine Neba Che “Ayi Kwei Armah: Provincialising Old Centres and Remaking the African Myth”.
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