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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The nature of things: arrested decolonization and critical theory
Author:Jeyifo, BiodunISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:higher education
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3819299
Abstract:Critical discourse is the primary medium in which literature survives. It not only assures the survival of literature, it also determines the condition in which it survives and the uses to which it will be put. This paper deals with one single, but crucial aspect of the debate concerning the question of a self-constituted and self-constituting African critical discourse: the emergence of African literature as an academic discipline. The historical dialectic of the professionalization of African literary study was accompanied by a crystallization of scholars and critics into the nationalist and Africanist schools: nationalist critics emphasize extraliterary and nonliterary concerns; Africanist critics emphasize objectivity, rigour, formalism and literary norms of evaluation. In recent times the Africanist agenda, which consists of winning respectability and legitimacy for the discipline of African literary study in the developed countries, has predominated. A great paradox thus surrounds the study of African literature today: historic decolonization having initially enabled the curricular legitimation of African literary study in African universities and schools, the equally historic arrest of decolonization has swung the centre of gravity of African literary study away from Africa to Europe and America. Bibliogr., notes.