As readers and scholars predominantly socialized in Western societies, we are often used to thinking and conceptualizing according to the epistemological frames of reference that have emerged in the aftermath of the Enlightenment. Since their rise to prominence in the late 1970s and 1980s (but even before that), postcolonial studies have continuously challenged these processes of meaning-making and chipped away at the hegemony of Western knowledge production.
In analyzing Nigerian (diasporic) texts that experiment with and interweave oral folklore, Yoruba and Igbo cosmologies, and narrative form, this course aims at excavating how these texts question dominant understandings of, among others, home and belonging, youth cultures, gender identities, and mental health. As the course prepares students to approach the set texts through a variety of – and often intersecting – theoretical lenses (e.g. postcolonial theory, feminism, deconstruction, structuralism) it works along the following guiding questions: What is the relationship between orality and literature, and how is oral folklore being (re)mediated in the twenty-first century? Which counterpoints do indigenous cosmologies and mythologies provide to predominant Western frameworks? How do these epistemologies frame and challenge our readings?
Students are asked to acquire and read the following texts:
Ellams, Inua. The Half-God of Rainfall. London: 4th Estate, 2019.
Emezi, Awaeke. Freshwater. London and Ney Work: Faber, 2018.
Popoola, Olumide. When We Speak of Nothing. Abuja and London: Cassava Republic, 2017.