Psychosomatic Dis-Ease and Critical Futurities in Post-Independence African Literatures

29/11/2017, 16:00 - 17:00


A research seminar with guest speaker Dr Eleanor Jones (University of Southampton) as part of the Borders & Bodies research theme at the School.

Since the very earliest days of European imperialism, Africa has held a dual place in the Western imaginary, encapsulating the West’s deepest fears and most optimistic dreams about the future. Discursively speaking, little has changed in the intervening centuries, with Africa still perceived in the West as both a chaotic space of violent negativity, and an emerging market ripe for profiteering. Within various African nations themselves, meanwhile, the drive toward buildingĀ  collective national futurities has remained a dominant discourse since independence, with futurity necessarily tied to the twin processes of material production and sexual reproduction.

This paper will examine the ways in which this multilateral and multilayered staking of an affectively and politically driven futurity in the African body can be understood in cultural terms, using an approach conceptually informed by the distinct but interrelated fields of queer theory and disability studies. Drawing on examples from African literatures in both Portuguese and English, I seek to read the textualisation of psychosomatic distress and disability in African fiction as a discursive refraction of politically imposed constructs of futurity.

Eleanor K. Jones is Lecturer in Portuguese and Lusophone Studies at the University of Southampton. Her research interests range across the histories, cultures and political systems of the Portuguese-speaking world and Africa as a whole, with a particular focus on themes relating to the body, including gender and sex, race, violence, health, disease and mortality.

The event will be followed by a wine reception in the school foyer from 17:00 therefore registration is compulsory for the purposes of catering provisions.

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2.18, School of Modern Languages
66a Park Place
CF10 3AS

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Borders and Bodies Seminar Series