1st Edition

Memories of Violence in Peru and the Congo Writing on the Brink

By Gilbert Shang Ndi Copyright 2022
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    The book presents an intertextual and comparative analysis of memories of violence in Peruvian and Congolese Literature.

    Examining a variety of novels that offer insightful representations of violence in their respective historical settings, the author argues that similar historical experiences between Latin America and Africa engender ethical/aesthetic responses and enhance trans-continental critical dialogues in comparative literary studies. In the same way that the drama of the Congo has become the symbolic open wound of (post)colonial dispensation in Africa, Spanish conquest in Latin America also produced spaces where the legacy of colonialism is strongly visible and memorable, providing fertile ground for the reproduction of violence. This book explores the concept and reality of violence beyond its most obvious manifestations, demonstrating how in the colonial contexts of Peru and the Congo, violence was a function of (post)colonial power dynamics and deeply engrained socio-political, economic and cultural ordering and othering. From this perspective, the work considers and re-examines theoretical contributions from authors such as John Galtung, Michel Foucault, Immanuel Wallerstein, Anibal Quijano, Frantz Fanon, Achille Mbembe, Eboussi Boulaga, Pierre Nora, Susan Sontag, Stevan Weine, Cathy Caruth and Nelson Maldonado-Torres.

    This book will be of interest for scholars working on how violence is explored and represented in literature and other art forms.

    General Introduction

    1. Historical Contexts of Violence in Peru and the Congo

    2. The Coloniality of Power and the Poetics of Excess/Scarcity

    3. Ways of Dying: The Horror of Witnessing and the Obscenity of Violence

    4. Writing the Aftermath: Narratives of Return and Memories of Loss

    5. Righting the Aftermath: On the Ethics of Recognition

    General Conclusion


    Gilbert Shang Ndi is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Cluster of Excellence – Africa Multiple, at the University of Bayreuth, working on the Project: Black Atlantic Revisited: African and South American UNESCO-World Heritage Sites and "Shadowed Spaces" of Performative Memory. A member of the Junges Kolleg (Young Colleague) Programme of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Munich), he recently completed a Feodor Lynen Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. He received his PhD in comparative literature from the University of Bayreuth in 2014. Gilbert Shang Ndi is the author of State/Society: Narrating Transformations in Selected African Novels (2017) and has coedited Tracks and Traces of Violence (2017) and Re-Writing Pasts, Imagining Futures: Critical Explorations of Contemporary African Fiction and Theater (2017).

    "Gilbert Shang Ndi’s Memories of Violence in Peru and the Congo: Writing on the Brink shows us how African and Latin American histories might productively be read together. His brilliantly original comparative study of Peru and the Congo drives home the haunting similarities in the experiences of colonial brutality and postcolonial memory in far-flung corners of the world."
    Orin Starn, Professor, Cultural Anthropology and History, Duke University, USA.

    "Violence, like a virus, is no more local. Likewise, it is not merely a reality of the past but that which renders unhabitable our very future. From structural violence (distribution of goods, services, vaccines) to direct violence (against the poor, women, immigrants) it is evident that this century has witnessed a recrudescence of violence of all kinds. In this catastrophic scenario that exposes what man can do to fellow man, it is imperative to reflect critically on the ruptures endured by our social fabric. I therefore commend this critical work by Gilbert Shang Ndi, which postulates a rethinking of the most violent actuality: the fratricide of the state against the nation."
    Julio Ortega, Professor, Latin American Literature, Brown University, USA

    "Memories of Violence in Peru and the Congo: Writing on the Brink is a timely comparative literary study of Africa and Latin America. The most interesting aspect of this book is its rigorous and seamless weaving of memory and re-memory from a wide spectrum and dimension of experiences; critically examining histories of violence and their aftermath. This book by Gilbert Shang Ndi, like his previous works, is a welcome companion to scholars and students of comparative Literature."
    Christopher Odhiambo Joseph, Professor, Literature and Applied Drama/Theatre, Moi University, Kenya