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The postcolonial African culture, as it is discoursed in the academia, is largely influenced by Africa's response to colonialism. To the degree that it is a response, it is to considerably reactive, and lacks forceful moral incentives for social critical consciousness and nation-building. Quite on the contrary, it allows especially African political leaders to luxuriate in the delusions of moral rectitude, imploring, at will, the evil of imperialism as a buffer to their disregard of their people. This book acknowledges the social and psychological devastations of colonialism on the African world. It, however, argues that the totality of African intellectual response to colonialism and Western imperialism is equally, if not more, damaging to the African world. In what ways does the average African leader, indeed, the average African, judge and respond to his world? How does he conceive of his responsibility towards his community and society?
The most obvious impact of African response to colonialism is the implicit search for a pristine, innocent paradigm in, for instance, literary, philosophical, social, political and gender studies. This search has its own moral implication in the sense that it makes the taking of responsibility on individual and social level highly difficult. Focusing on the moral impact of responses to colonialism in Africa and the African Diaspora, this book analyzes the various manifestations of delusions of moral innocence that has held the African leadership from the onerous task of bearing responsibility for their countries; it argues that one of the ways to recast the African leaders' responsibility towards Africa is to let go, on the one hand, the gaze of the West, and on the other, of the search for the innocent African experience and cultures.
Relying on the insights of thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Achille Mbembe and Wolgang Welsch, this book suggests new approaches to interpreting African experiences. It discusses select African works of fiction as a paradigm for new interpretations of African experiences.
Chielozona Eze —
Chielozona Eze is associate professor of English and postcolonial studies at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.
Eze, Chielozona. Postcolonial imaginations and moral representations in African literature and culture. Lexington Books, 2011. 137p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780739145067; ISBN 9780739145081 e-book, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in 2012jun CHOICE.
Eze (Northeastern Illinois Univ.) is aware of the many cultures of Africa, despite the title of his book, and he notes that the reader should acknowledge that Africa is not one monolithic culture. Eze takes issue with the delusion of Africa's racial innocence, a notion that has permeated world culture and literature and is largely due to Africa's violent encounters with Western powers. He asserts that there is a guilt-driven discourse in Africa and about Africa and seeks to challenge that. The text is divided into eight chapters. In chapter 1, Eze discusses the works of significant African writers and critics--Chinua Achebe, Moses Ebe Ochonu. In subsequent chapters he considers, among other things, the ideas of Edward Wilmot Blyden as a pioneer of pan-Negro thinkers in the West (and challenges many of Blyden's ideas, theories, and conclusions); the importance and monumental influence of Achebe's Things Fall Apart; and the role of the new African writers in regenerating the African mind. Readers with no knowledge of African literature, history, authors, and critics will find the book difficult to follow and understand.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- B. Taylor-Thompson, Houston Community College