Cultural Archives of Atrocity : Essays on the Protest Tradition in Kenyan Literature, Culture and Society book cover
1st Edition

Cultural Archives of Atrocity
Essays on the Protest Tradition in Kenyan Literature, Culture and Society

ISBN 9781032092645
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
376 Pages

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Book Description

Studies on the aesthetic representations of atrocity the world over have taken different discursive dimensions from history, sociology, political to human rights. These perspectives are usually geared towards understanding the manifestations, extent, political and economic implications of atrocities. In all these cases, representation has been the singular concern. Cultural Archives of Atrocity: Essays on the Protest Tradition in Kenyan Literature, Culture and Society brings together generic ways of interrogating artistic representations of atrocity in Kenya. Couched on interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches, essays in this volume investigate representations of Atrocity in Kenyan Literature, Film, Popular Music and other mediated cultural art forms. Contributors to this volume not only bring on board multiple and competing perspectives on studying atrocity and how they are archived but provide refreshing and valuable insights in examining the artistic and cultural interpellations of atrocity within the socio-political imaginaries of the Kenyan nation. This volume forms part of the growing critical resources for scholars undertaking studies on atrocity within the fields of ethnic studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, peace and conflict, criminology, psychology, political economy and history in Kenya.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors



Introduction: Conceptualizing Representations of Atrocity in Art

PART ONE: Representations of Atrocity in the Contemporary Kenyan Novel

  1. Narrating Trauma in Yvonne Owuor’s Dust

  2. An Eco-critical Reading of Voice of the People and Different Colours

  3. Locating Bodies, Embodying Resistance: A Foucauldian Reading of Wahome Mutahi’s Jail Bugs and Three Days on the Cross

  4. Derision, Delirium and Denied Justice in Benjamin Garth Bundeh’s Birds of Kamiti

  5. Socio-Economic Atrocities in Meja Mwangi’s Going Down River Road and Kinyanjui Kombani’s The Last Villains of Molo

  6. Symbolism of Human Relations in Narratives of Ethnic Violence in Kenya

  7. Sycophants in a Cannibal State: Finding Kenya in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow

  8. Negotiating the Vicious Cycle of Political Atrocities in Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Wizard of the Crow

  9. Gender-Based Atrocity in Kenyan Urban Women's Novel after 2000

  10. Reading the Politics of Violence and Impunity in Pango and Kufa Kuzikana

  11. Political Atrocity in Kenyan Swahili Novel after 2000

  12. PART TWO: Narrating Mau Mau Violence and Trauma in the Kenyan Novel

  13. Textual Subversion in the Representation of Mau Mau Atrocities in Settler Writing in Kenya

  14. Grotesque Images of Colonial and Mau Mau Violence in Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Weep Not Child and A Grain of Wheat

  15. Emergency Trauma in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat

  16. PART THREE: Representations of Atrocity in Popular Arts

  17. Between fait accompli and eruptions of violence: Kenyan identity in Kwani’s twin edition 2008

  18. Confronting National Pain and Suffering through Judy Kibinge’s Feature Film, Something Necessary

  19. Screening Violence: the Production and Circulation of Films about the Kenyan Post-election Violence of 2007/2008

  20. Bestial Zoosemic labeling in Kenyan Political Songs: A Conceptual Metaphor Perspective

  21. Reading Kalenjin Popular Music as a Germ of Ethnic Violence

  22. PART FOUR: Representations of Atrocity in Kenyan Poetry

  23. Repression in the Poetry of Jared Angira

  24. Poetry and Atrocity: An Analysis of Three Kiswahili Poets


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Charles Kebaya holds a PhD in Television Drama Criticism from Kenyatta University and currently teaches Literature at Machakos University, Kenya.

Colomba Kaburi Muriungi is an associate professor of African Literature in the Department of Humanities and also the Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Chuka University, Kenya.

JKS Makokha is a Kenyan poet, critic, translator and academic. He is based in the Department of Literature, Kenyatta University.