Towards Relationality Love in Contemporary African Literature
Derica Alexandra Rosemary Shields
Grant Aubrey Farred
Thesis DT 3.5 2015 S5475
v, 65 leaves ; 29 cm
This project considers how romantic love is conceived, written, and imagined across a selection of contemporary African literature I read Helon Habila's Waiting for an Angel and short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Doreen Baingana, and Leila Aboulela through a critical lens shaped by postcolonial theory, affect studies, cultural studies, feminist theory, and black studies. Across these texts, I chart a move away from romance both as a narrative structure that has informed postcolonial political imaginaries, and as a telos undergirding social life. Habila's novel unseats romantic love from its position at the pinnacle of human emotion, and gestures towards a social world comprised of a broader set of affective relations. The protagonists in works by Adichie, Baingana, and Aboulela withdraw from romantic love in ways that suggest a breaking of the bounded self of European continental philosophy and towards an understanding of the individual as constituted by the social.