Youth Indeterminacy and Postcolonial African Creative Thought
Matthew Bruce Omelsky
Grant Aubrey Farred
Thesis DT 3.5 2011 O435
104 leaves ; 29 cm.
In this project, I consider the diverse ways in which postcolonial African creative intellectuals articulate the African youth experience. Due to this generation’s lack of experiential knowledge of formal colonial rule, the perspectives of these artists are largely distinct from those of their predecessors. Consequently, this younger generation of artists has created new narrative and aesthetic forms and has established new political focuses that have vastly expanded the breadth of African artistic practice. Among these new articulations is the concern with the political urgency of contemporary youth. In an effort to scrutinize this putative youth exigency, this thesis critiques the disparate ways in which these intellectuals depict the potentiality of youth “resistance” or “agency”. Indeed, for these artists, resistance is always potential, never guaranteed.
The project focuses on the novels and films of Chris Abani (Nigeria), Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon) and Alain Mabanckou (Congo-Brazzaville), in conjunction with an interdisciplinary archive that spans YouTube videos, anthropological studies and critical theory. This thesis also seeks to bridge Francophone and Anglophone creative practices, in an effort to traverse the critical subtleties (linguistic, cultural, and philosophical) embedded in multiple languages. Through these interdisciplinary and multilingual approaches, this project sets out to unravel how the postcolonial generation of African artists imagines and shapes the lives of young people – understanding this “imagining” and “shaping” as a discursive political act.