The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 2.04
Jul 04, 2023 11:30 - 13:00(Europe/London)
20230704T1130 20230704T1300 Europe/London 1.2. Literary Perspectives on memory and decoloniality NUBS 2.04 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
26 attendees saved this session
Colony, Camp, and African Soldiers: Decolonising Legacies of Violence in the Fiction of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Didier Daeninckx and Abdulrazak Gurnah
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC

The paper offers a comparative analysis of the legacies of violence in three novels: La plus secrète mémoire des hommes by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (2021, Prix Goncourt), Galadio (2010) by Didier Daeninckx and Afterlives (2020) by recent Nobel Prize winner Abrulrazak Gurnah. I argue that  the three texts represent an important intervention in World War One commemorative discourse by including African individuals and communities. Up to the 1990s African soldiers were deliberately excluded from Eurocentric war archives. In my paper I therefore discuss the coloniality of First World War memory, showing how the three writers reclaim the marginalized stories of tirailleurs sénégalais (Sarr and Daeninckx) and East African Askari (Gurnah). 
Furthermore, Sarr, Daeninckx and Gurnah all draw intriguing connections between colonialism, the First World War, and the Nazi concentration camps. The three novels expose disturbing continuities of coerced labour, population segregation, and systematic brutality between the colonial and the Nazi projects. Referring to Paul Gilroy's (2000) and Ann Laura Stoler's (2016) comparisons of colony and camp, I demonstrate how the three writers highlight the pernicious repercussions of the modern invention of "race". Sarr and Gurnah in particular explore  the pitfalls of colonial modernity, which seduced Africans into submission, yet at the same time dehumanized them in a violent way (Mmebme 2010). I therefore argue that in the three novels the decolonization of war memory (see Das 2021; 2018) does not consist only of the diversification of the war narrative. The three writers avoid the idealization of African soldiers and illustrate the complexity of their protagonists' decisions in situations of crisis and trauma. 
More specifically, in the French context, Daeninck and Sarr build a relational dialogue with the Jewish memory of the Holocaust. Yet in La plus secrète mémoire des hommes the Holocaust also functions as a somewhat controversial metaphor of further dehumanization of African people in more recent historical contexts, drawing connections between local and transnational memories. The paper thus also addresses the significance of the Holocaust as a point of reference for African and Afropean communities today. 
Presenters
AB
Anna Branach-Kallas
Professor, Nicolaus Copernicus University In Torun
Recalling the Algerian Past as the ‘Sum of Our Stories’: An analysis of Kaouther Adimi’s Nos richesses (2017).
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC
This paper considers contemporary postcolonial Algerian women's writing with reference to Kaouther Adimi's novel Nos richesses (2017).   Postcolonialism as a thematic framing is examined within the novel and comment made on the writer's perspectives of Algeria's literary landscape and intertextuality to discover the 'authoritative' extent of such a phenomenon on the present day and how it serves the historical memory of current Algerian social life. Adimi's Nos richesses is a fictionalized biography of Edmond Charlot (real-life 'discoverer' and publisher of Camus) who established a bookstore and library in Algiers in 1935. Adimi's novel holds the reader's attention through fictionalized accounts of Charlot's diary entries based on factual archives of the times - writers, political events and contextual motifs of the novel's setting. The chapters alternate between the past and the present. Adimi pays homage to an idea of Algerian literature, depicting Charlot's life through this fictional diary, and connecting us to the present through Ryad, a young man sent to dismantle the bookshop. Charlot's literary and professional world is rediscovered where Algerian history is arguably impossible to comprehend without what might be considered essential to the survival of literature: "We are the people of this city and our memory is the sum of all our stories". Using critical tools this paper explores and discloses possibilities of new readings of the selected text Nos richesses as well as offering critique of both Adimi, and other Algerian female writing more broadly in regard of Algeria's literary landscape as both commemorative and critically informative.
Key words:  Algerian literature, postcolonialism, intertextuality, history, Algerian memory, present time. 
Presenters
ZB
Zineb BABASLIMANE
PhD Student, The University Of The West Of Scotland
Deconstructing Northrop Frye and Conceptualising Africa’s Postcolonial Memory Monomyth in Selected African Novels
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC
In this paper, I argue that Northrop Frye's conceptualisation of monomyth as the overarching human story reeks of modernist universality and absolutism which must be deconstructed in order to allow for a more relativist understanding of our cultural ethos, history and experiences. Frye's theory of monomyth had implicitly assumed that its postulates on the four seasons and their related literary genres would be suitable for and applicable to all peoples and cultures across the world. A deconstructionist searchlight of the monomyth, however, reveals otherwise and has led to its deconstruction as well as the birthing of Africa's postcolonial memory monomyth that recognises the uniqueness of the African story, her history and cultural experiences. The paper makes use of the African seasons and their peculiarities to interpret Frye's four genres of Romance, Anti-romance, Comedy and Tragedy within the context of Africa's historical experiences; namely precolonial stories, colonial experience, nationalist optimism and post-independence disillusionment. These are all exemplified through the analysis of selected literary texts that depict each phase of the African story. Such literary works include Etim Akaduh's The Ancestor, Ayi Kwei Armah's Two Thousand Seasons and Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah. The research justifies the postmodernist and postcolonial hermeneutics which celebrate Otherness, relativism, subjectivism, individualism and differences of all cultural and historical experiences.  
Presenters Eyoh Etim
Deconstructing Northrop Frye And Conceptualising Africa's Postcolonial Memory Monomyth In Selected African Novels , Akwa Ibom State University
Decolonising the Memory of Literary Regulations using Deleuzian ‘Minor Literature’ as a Tool : A Study of Hilda Hilst’s Selected Novellas
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC


This article will attempt to demonstrate how the 'decolonisation of memory' in contemporary critical studies has assumed an important role in re-emphasizing the responsibility of memory in establishing socio-political power relations. Memory as a producer and cultivator of identities and cultures, through the organized regulation of specific traits, has always been a core ideological strategy across all discourses. Similarly, the memory of literary rules and principles constitute the category of literature or 'ideal literature' (which Gilles Deleuze calls 'majoritarian literature') in any given language, by standardizing and regulating the usages of various linguistic, semantic and grammatical elements. Thus, 'majoritarian literature' is written with the assistance of the memory of literary customs and by reinforcing the presumably 'correct' semantic, syntactic, lexical and phonemic rules. 
This leads to a hegemony of dominant linguistic and literary sense-making, which contributes to the corresponding social discourse as an instrument of power and organization, since literature is produced and consumed by the cultural community at large. This dominion of the normalized usage of language and literature restrain the potential of both and by extension, the potential of any community and human culture at large. Hence, it is imperative that the linguistic models and their constituents be reshaped as 'experimental machines' by abandoning their conventional and regulatory identities. This research article aims to look at Deleuzian 'minor literature' as a possible escape from this linguistic-literary 'reign of terror' and further explains how it can be used as a tool to decolonize the memory of literary conventions, through the in-depth analysis of the two novellas With my Dog Eyes and The Obscene Madame D by Brazilian author Hilda Hilst. 
French critical thinker Gilles Deleuze writes that in 'minor literature' language is affected by grammatical and syntactic 'deterritorialization'. That is, minor literature is about the deployment of 'minor' (marginalized or presumably 'incorrect') rules of language and literary writing, that discards the imperialism of the memory of literary regulations. Deleuze further insists that minor literature makes one feel like a foreigner in one's own language. The writings of Hilda Hilst have been chosen for this article as she remains an outsider, not only in the globalized discourse of world literature, but also in the domain of Brazilian Literature due to her experimental compositional tendencies and treatment of intimate setups as a critique of traditional bourgeois values. 
This paper will reflect how the two novellas of Hilda Hilst mentioned above, exhibit an abundance of literary-linguistic transgressions: by characterizing an absolute anarchy of genres, themes, content, plot-construction, narrative and other literary devices, and also by dramatizing the narratives through irregular, unconventional punctuation as well as syntactic-stylistic creations. Hilst thus establishes new forms of literary aesthetic that subsequently critique and disrupt various ideological binaries. Hence, these works, when read as embodiments of Deleuzian 'minor literature', quite justly assume the role of literary weapons that decolonize the very important and unique memories of literary tools, that affects not only a specific community but all reading cultures. 

Presenters Soumi Paik
Doctoral Research Scholar, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong
Reading, Ideology & Decolonization: The Example of the Kazakh Novel White Eagle
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC
This paper explores a novel that one ethnic minority Kazakh lineage group uses to remember their early 20th century history in China.  White Eagle explores the life of an ethnic Kazakh trader named Bek Mamur in 1930's Xinjiang Province, China.  Bek Mamur lived from approximately 1900-1941; his son collected oral traditions about his father and then worked with a journalist-writer to publish an award-winning historical novel based on his father's life experiences.  Under the current president Xi Jinping's broad initiatives against ethnic separatism and terrorism in the Xinjiang region, the journalist-writer was detained for political re-education and the novel has disappeared from bookstores and libraries.  Among other aspects of Kazakh ethnic traditions, the historical novel depicts Kazakh pre-revolutionary legal proceedings for domestic and international conflicts involving tribal and clan leaders; these depictions are important because they preserve tribal legal procedure for lineage memory.  At the same time, and quite ironically when considering the author's detention, these depictions also interpret those legal proceedings through a Chinese colonial lens; this ideological lens is what allowed the novel to pass state censorship.  This paper argues that the novel and its reading today is an important component of Kazakh heritage preservation because it reflects 1) cultural traditions and alternative ways of being that Chinese governance has negatively impacted, 2) the complex and nuanced internalization of how those traditions and being were seen by the Chinese state by Kazakh themselves, and 3) why reading, remembering, and dialoging about such traditions opens up something like a decolonizing moment to reflect upon older stories as well as tell new stories about the past. In this sense, this paper attempts this decolonizing reflection and story-telling.
Presenters
MZ
Michael Zukosky
Professor Of Anthropology, Eastern Washington University
Professor
,
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun
PhD student
,
The university of the West of Scotland
Deconstructing Northrop Frye and Conceptualising Africa's Postcolonial Memory Monomyth in Selected African Novels
,
Akwa Ibom State University
Doctoral Research Scholar
,
North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong
Professor of Anthropology
,
Eastern Washington University
Senior Lecturer
,
Newcastle University
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions
770 visits