Representations of the violently displaced black female self in contemporary African literature: African and African Diaspora Studies scholarly dissertation, & House on a jade sea : creative writing, fiction, dissertation
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Representations of the violently displaced black female self in contemporary African literature is a study of my broad interests in the peculiar intersectionalities of violent displacement and dispossession (including forced migration and refugeeism); the often resultant states of liminality, spiritual transcendence, aspiration to egalitarian African Moral Orders; and the oppressions of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and religion in relation to black female colonial and postcolonial subjectivity. The dissertation examines the aforementioned intersectionalities within select border-shifting, transregional, and transnational contemporary African narratives with a special focus on the depiction of African women using an interdisciplinary lens appertaining to Frantz Fanon's psychology of oppression; my own African-Western hybridized grotesque matrix; the African Postcolonial Gothic; refuge and prospect; Ubuntuism; religion(orthodox and unorthodox, including Catholicism, Islam, and Sufism); and, finally, Jungian Spirituality and Archetypes. As such, the study goes beyond a reductionist account of refugees and internally displaced persons under only the trauma model. Authors and works discussed include The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo (1999, trans. 2004) by Germano Almeida; The Loves of João Vêncio (1979, trans. 1991) by José Luandino Vieira; Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Nervous Conditions (1988) and The Book of Not: A Sequel to Nervous Conditions (2006) by Tsitsi Dangarembga; The Stone Virgins (2002) by Yvonne Vera; and, finally, Colored Lights (2001,2005), Minaret (2005), and The Translator (1999) by Leila Aboulela. The novel, House on a Jade Sea, complements representations of the violently displaced black female self in contemporary African literature by creatively exploring how black African women seek to break the restrains of the displaced, exiled or refugee condition in the West, while simultaneously trying to deal with what is usually a challenging domestic life. In brief, the novel delves into the lives of Naomi and Daniel Dassa, a young Kenyan couple, who dwell in the small college town of Pullman, WA, USA. Naomi works and studies at the Washington State University, while Daniel is a member of a popular marimba band. Their life seems peaceful, but the couple's marriage is troubled by the fact that they are both dealing with traumatic events in their past lives. Naomi narrowly escaped death during the 1998 US Embassy bombing in downtown Nairobi, which killed hundreds of people and wounded thousands. Her brother Guba lost his fiancée in the incident. Soon after this, Guba, a small charter plane pilot, went missing over Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya leaving Naomi without closure. Daniel, a former political prisoner, tries to help his wife through this trying time by hiring a teenage babysitter called Ayana for their two-year old son, Pascal. However, an attraction develops between Daniel and Ayana (an Oromo refugee from Ethiopia) and the resulting affair threatens to forever tear apart the already fragile foundations of the Dassa household.
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