Straddling Borders in Postcolonial Discourse: Delocalisation (Displacement) and Reconstruction of Literary Theory in Africa

Charles Ngiewih Teke


This essay uses Edward Said’s generated travel theory and affiliated theorists to discuss the question of the points of origin and different travel trajectories of poststructuralism and feminism in African studies. It argues that poststructuralism hitherto largely considered incompatible with African aesthetics and postcolonial theorisations and formulations is incontestably rooted in Africa and has contributed greatly in breaking Western essentialist epistemological structures and enhancing a variety of African postcolonial concepts. The major travel itineraries of poststructuralism can be traced as such: In Africa it is inscribed in the politics of struggle and resistance to colonialism and imperialism, in Europe it assumes a philosophical emphasis based on disrupting and deconstructing Western logocentrism and phonocentrism, in America it takes the guise of theory and method in literary discourse. Third World diaspora in this location adopts it in formulating cultural, minority, new historicist and postcolonial discourses. Its re-entry into Africa through African and Third World diasporic formulations consolidates and amplifies its point of departure from this continent. The reception and contextualisation of Western powered feminist discourses by African feminists and female intellectuals demonstrates difference. The accommodation or incorporation of Western feminist poetics by the latter lends credence to spatial, historical, cultural transformations, resulting in alternative routes though with a certain degree of universal interconnectedness regarding the plight of women. Western feminism is not homogeneous, implying that its essentialist apprehension of Africa as homogeneous gives room for different cultural and historical contestations in a multi-cultured African landscape.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n3p169

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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