1st Edition

African City Textualities

Edited By

Ranka Primorac

ISBN 9780415481557
Published August 24, 2009 by Routledge
136 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

The stereotype of Africa as a predominantly 'natural' space ignores the existence of vibrant and cosmopolitan urban environments on the continent. Far from merely embodying backwardness and lack, African cities are sites of complex and diverse cultural productions which participate in modernity and its dynamics of global flows and exchanges. This volume merges the concerns of urban, literary and cultural studies by focusing on the flows and exchanges of texts and textual elements. By analysing how texts such as popular and canonical fiction, popular music, self-help pamphlets, graffiti, films, journalistic writing, rumours and urban legends engage with the problems of citizenship, self-organisation and survival, the collection shows that despite all the problems of Africa, its cities continue to engender forward-looking creativity and hope. The texts collected here belong to several different genres themselves, and they are authored by both distinguished and younger scholars, based in and outside of Africa. The volume explores the textualities emerging from the cities of Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Above all, it calls for an end to disabling hierarchical categorisations of both texts and cities.

This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: City, text, future  Ranka Primorac

2. A city that keeps a country going: In praise of Dakar  Donal Cruise O’Brien

3. Corresponding with the city: Self-help literature in urban West Africa  Stephanie Newell

4. Philly Lutaaya: Popular music and the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda  Joel Isabirye

5. Remapping urban modernities: Julie Ward’s death and the Kenyan grapevine  Grace A. Musila

6. The modern city and citizen efficacy in a Zambian novel  Ranka Primorac

7. Lusaka  Laura Miti-Banda

8. The urban palimpsest: Re-presenting Sophiatown  Meg Samuelson

9. Myth and legend in urban oral memory: Bulawayo, 1930–60  Terence Ranger

10. Afterword: Modernity and transformation in African cities  Jennifer Robinson

11. Ivan Vladislavic and the possible city  James Graham

12. City, identity and dystopia: Writing Lagos in contemporary Nigerian novels  Rita Nnodim

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Ranka Primorac is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Southampton. Previously, she has taught Africa-related courses in several institutions of higher learning, including Cambridge and the London branch of New York University, and has authored The Place of Tears: The Novel and Politics in Modern Zimbabwe (2006) and co-edited Zimbabwe in Crisis: The International Response and the Space of Silence (2007).