African women writers and the politics of gender

Zulfiqar Chaudhry, Sadia (2014) African women writers and the politics of gender. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the work of a group of African women writers who have emerged over the last forty years. While figures such as Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Wole Soyinka are likely to be the chief focus of discussions of African writing, female authors have been at the forefront of fictional interrogations of identity formation and history. In the work of authors such as Mariama Bâ (Senegal), Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe), and Leila Aboulela (Sudan), there is a clear attempt to subvert the tradition of male writing where the female characters are often relegated to the margins of the culture, and confined to the domestic, private sphere. This body of work has already generated a significant number of critical responses, including readings that draw on gender politics and colonialism; but it is still very much a minor literature, and most mainstream western feminism has not sufficiently processed it. The purpose of this thesis is threefold. First, it draws together some of the most important and influential African women writers of the post-war period and looks at their work, separately and together, in terms of a series of themes and issues, including marriage, family, polygamy, religion, childhood, and education. Second, it demonstrates how African literature produced by women writers is explicitly and polemically engaged with urgent political issues that have both local and global resonance: the veil, Islamophobia and a distinctively African brand of feminist critique. Third, it revisits Fredric Jameson’s claim that all third-world texts are ‘national allegories’ and considers these novels by African women in relation to Jameson’s claim, arguing that their work has complicated Jameson’s assumptions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Polygamy, Islam, Feminism, Tradition, Modernity, Fredric Jameson, National Allegory,Neo-Colonialism, Cultural Imperialism, Racism.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Maley, Professor Willy
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Dr Sadia Zulfiqar
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5202
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2014 11:02
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 07:59
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5202

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