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Title:Polyphonic disconcert around polygyny: 'Riwan ou le chemin de sable' by Ken Bugul (Senegal) and 'Niketche: a story of polygamy' by Paulina Chiziane (Mozambique)
Author:Martins, Catarina
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines (ISSN 0008-0055)
Geographic terms:Africa
literary criticism
About persons:Paulina Chiziane (1955-)ISNI
Ken Bugul (1947-) pseud. for Mariètou Mbaye BiléomaISNI
Abstract:This article intends to offer a feminist reading of two novels written by African women on the subject of polygyny. Other novels will be drawn into the discussion, in order to demonstrate how polyphony as an aesthetical strategy corresponds to a political intention of making as many voices of women as possible heard on the subject. A simplistic reading of polygyny as always merely oppressive to women, as opposed to monogamy as a desirable norm, is contradicted by an accent on complex power constellations, not to be defined through the parameter of gender alone, and by intersectional regards that discover invisible forms of agency and semantics of freedom and empowerment that feminist conceptual frameworks cannot account for so far. The enlargement of perspectives leads to an epistemological questioning of the possible Eurocentrism and colonial semantics of some central concepts of feminist theory, such as power and emancipation. Bibliogr. notes, ref., sum. in English and French [ASC Leiden abstract]