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Theorizing Hybridity through African literature: Bridging the Gap between Individuality and Sociality

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Abstract:

Theorizing Hybridity through African literature: Bridging the Gap between Individuality and Sociality


Munashe Furusa, PhD
CSU Dominguez Hills
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson CA 90747
Ph: 310-243-3040
Email: mfurusa@csudh.edu

Abstract
This paper explores the concept of hybridity in African literature. Hybridity has recently become a key concept for debates on culture and identity formation. Homi K. Bhabha defines hybridity as “a problematic of colonial representation … that reverses the effects colonialist disavowal, so that the other “denied” knowledges enter upon the dominant discourse and estrange the basis of its authority.” Bhabha, like many postcolonial and post-modern theorists, argue that hybridity, as an expression of ambivalence and fluidity, represents an active moment of challenge and resistance against a dominate cultural power (Robert J. C. Young 1995). Hybridity is considered to a major weapon against “grand narratives” and dominant authorities because it stands for the voices “in-between” the dominant authority and the “other” as well as a major force in challenging polar oppositional discourses that have often characterized colonial relationships. The paper is interested in the way African writers theorize and represent hybridity as a product of the complex cultural interactions that took place in Africa from colonialism to the present and the resultant uncertain crossings and invasions of identities. The paper argues that African writers have always been concerned and have written extensively about African people meeting and incorporating western culture into their lives as wells those individuals caught between the tides of these antagonistic cultures. Many African writers often present African identities as characterized by an “essential”, core identity which is threatened by cross-cultural contact, interactions and colonial cultural violations. They portray hybridity as an unstable product of alienation and cultural contamination. The paper will critically examine and discuss the specific position and images that are dominant in African literature.
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Association:
Name: 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p305454_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Furusa, Munashe. "Theorizing Hybridity through African literature: Bridging the Gap between Individuality and Sociality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA, Mar 19, 2009 <Not Available>. 2013-12-13 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p305454_index.html>

APA Citation:

Furusa, M. , 2009-03-19 "Theorizing Hybridity through African literature: Bridging the Gap between Individuality and Sociality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2013-12-13 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p305454_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Theorizing Hybridity through African literature: Bridging the Gap between Individuality and Sociality


Munashe Furusa, PhD
CSU Dominguez Hills
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson CA 90747
Ph: 310-243-3040
Email: mfurusa@csudh.edu

Abstract
This paper explores the concept of hybridity in African literature. Hybridity has recently become a key concept for debates on culture and identity formation. Homi K. Bhabha defines hybridity as “a problematic of colonial representation … that reverses the effects colonialist disavowal, so that the other “denied” knowledges enter upon the dominant discourse and estrange the basis of its authority.” Bhabha, like many postcolonial and post-modern theorists, argue that hybridity, as an expression of ambivalence and fluidity, represents an active moment of challenge and resistance against a dominate cultural power (Robert J. C. Young 1995). Hybridity is considered to a major weapon against “grand narratives” and dominant authorities because it stands for the voices “in-between” the dominant authority and the “other” as well as a major force in challenging polar oppositional discourses that have often characterized colonial relationships. The paper is interested in the way African writers theorize and represent hybridity as a product of the complex cultural interactions that took place in Africa from colonialism to the present and the resultant uncertain crossings and invasions of identities. The paper argues that African writers have always been concerned and have written extensively about African people meeting and incorporating western culture into their lives as wells those individuals caught between the tides of these antagonistic cultures. Many African writers often present African identities as characterized by an “essential”, core identity which is threatened by cross-cultural contact, interactions and colonial cultural violations. They portray hybridity as an unstable product of alienation and cultural contamination. The paper will critically examine and discuss the specific position and images that are dominant in African literature.

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