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Intimations of the Local in a Globalised World
Volume Editors: and
This volume examines how Indigenous theatre and performance from Oceania has responded to the intensification of globalisation from the turn of the 20th to the 21st centuries. It foregrounds a relational approach to the study of Indigenous texts, thus echoing what scholars such as Tui Nicola Clery have described as the stance of a “Multi-Perspective Culturally Sensitive Researcher.” To this end, it proposes a fluid vision of Oceania characterized by heterogeneity and cultural diversity calling to mind Epeli Hau‘ofa’s notion of “a sea of islands.”

Taking its cue from the theories of Deleuze and Guattari, the volume offers a rhizomatic, non-hierarchical approach to the study of the various shapes of Indigeneity in Oceania. It covers Indigenous performance from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hawai’i, Samoa, Rapa Nui/Easter Island, Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. Each chapter uses vivid case histories to explore a myriad of innovative strategies responding to the interplay between the local and the global in contemporary Indigenous performance. As it places different Indigenous cultures from Oceania in conversation, this critical anthology gestures towards an “imparative” model of comparative poetics, favouring negotiation of cultural difference and urging scholars to engage dialogically with non-European artistic forms of expression.
Urban Ecotones in the Global South
Global South cities are magnets of immigration flows. They are vivid crucibles of human diversity, cultural interactions, but also of political tensions and social violence. From Kolkata to Bogota, from Harare to Fort-de-France, from Bamako to Cape Town, this book offers a unique set of studies on cities where multifarious diaspora flows converge. Building on the concept of the ecotone, i.e. a contact zone between populations of different backgrounds, it elicits a multidisciplinary dialogue between social science and humanities scholars, exploring the articulation between the postcolonial and the neoliberal city. Following Ananya Roy’s proposition of a worlding the South (Roy 2014), this book contributes to forging a situated world view rooted in the experience and the imaginary of Southern cities.

Published on behalf of the Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English (ASNEL/GNEL).

ASNEL Papers is a subseries of Cross/Cultures.
This series looks at the different literary traditions of the United States, including African American literature, Native American literature, Chicano and US latino literature, Asian American literature, as well as emergent literatures such as Indian or Arab American.
Although the series' focus is mostly comparative, multiethnic, and intercultural, it also welcomes feature analyses of single literary traditions.
Issues of race, ethnicity, class gender, and the interspace between the political and the aesthetic, among other possible topics, figure prominently in the series.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to the publisher at BRILL, Masja Horn.
Journal for African Culture and Society
Matatu is published as journal as of 2016. All back volumes are still available in print. Follow the link to the journal for current submissions and publications.

Matatu was a series on African literatures and societies dedicated to interdisciplinary dialogue between literary and cultural studies, historiography, the social sciences and cultural anthropology. As a series it has been discontinued, and has been continued as a dynamic journal.
Matatu is animated by a lively interest in African culture and literature (including the Afro-Caribbean) that moves beyond worn-out clichés of “cultural authenticity” and “national liberation” towards critical exploration of African modernities. The East African public transport vehicle from which Matatu takes its name is both a component and a symbol of these modernities: based on “Western” (these days usually Japanese) technology, it is a vigorously African institution; it is usually regarded with some anxiety by those travelling in it, but is often enough the only means of transport available; it creates temporary communicative communities and provides a transient site for the exchange of news, storytelling, and political debate.
Matatu is firmly committed to supporting democratic change in Africa, to providing a forum for interchanges between African and European critical debates, to overcoming notions of absolute cultural, ethnic, or religious alterity, and to promoting transnational discussion on the future of African societies in a wider world.

Abstract

Marechera and his literary texts do not fit easily into Africanist categories of reading, principally due to his vitriolic invocation of the ‘f-word’ when asked if he was an African writer. Despite this iconoclasm, Afro-cosmic creeds undeniably inform aspects of his novella. An Afro-cosmological approach acknowledges non-empirical influences for certain behavioural traits portrayed by various characters in the novella which Marechera utilises and assails to address a ‘diseased’ colonial life. Using Falola’s Ritual Archives (2017), we approach this novella as a repository of Shona social ideation and cultural mythologies of haunting, and the Isisism trope of putting material remains back together. Numerous invocations of Shona cosmologies demonstrate Marechera’s socialisation into an African cosmology which manifests itself in his writing and life in unlimited ways. In sum, we interrogate the author’s use of culture codes to relocate him within an African rationale, thus, unmooring him from the Western-centric frameworks emphasised by Veit-Wild’s memoir (2020). We offer insights into the spirituality surrounding Marechera, his vagabondage and his seemingly self-sabotaging behaviour succinctly summarised by Veit-Wild as ‘biting every hand that fed you.’ Flora Veit-Wild, using the logic of a European, fails to appreciate this aspect of his life. In this article we recentre an African cosmology through the topos of being haunted to conceptualise Marechera’s writing and life to account for non-Western occurrences and modes of psychic distress which find no diagnosis in Western psychiatry.

Open Access
In: Matatu

Abstract

Dambudzo Marechera who died in 1987 remains a fascinating phenomenon in African literary culture. He is very much alive in the visual culture in which he circulates digitally. He is at once posthumous, multiple, and contemporary. Even though Marechera did not live to see the 21st century, he left versions of himself that remain both relevant and resonant. This paper considers the various ways Marechera’s digital afterlives manifest and force us to interrogate the intersections of life, death, personal data and human autonomy and presents a critique of unethical digital resurrection. Who does digital Marechera belong to?

Open Access
In: Matatu
Free access
In: Matatu
Author:

Abstract

This article offers an in-depth reading of Flora Veit-Wild’s They Called You Dambudzo: A Memoir (2020) and its contentious racial politics of representation. Through the memoir, which I contend is an apologia pro vita sua, a justification for the author’s own life and work, Veit-Wild seeks to dispel long-standing accusations that she has benefitted from Dambudzo Marechera and his legacy. As she depicts herself as a magnanimous activist and scholar, Veit-Wild reverses the script by portraying Marechera as a “galling scoundrel” who “depended on others to sustain him.” In the process, far from offering an authoritative portrait of Marechera that we can trust, the memoir dehumanises the writer. Suggesting that Veit-Wild’s relationship with Marechera was motivated more by racialised objectification than love and respect, the text reproduces a white saviour narrative that reinscribes racist tropes of representation. While it also engages other works by Veit-Wild, this article delves into They Called You Dambudzo’s (un)critical reception, its unsettling portrayal of Marechera as a spoilt, ungrateful, and mentally ill writer who “had a way of taking for granted whatever was done for him,” Veit-Wild’s self-representation as both Marechera’s victim and saviour, her misappropriation of Marechera’s thought to enforce colourblindness, and the vexed colonial politics of speaking for others that the memoir lays bare.

Open Access
In: Matatu
Author:

Abstract

This article weaves the impossibilities of Dambudzo Marechera’s life under colonialism, racism, poverty, and violence, and of love between the Zimbabwean poet and the German scholar, Flora Veit-Wild. In this article, Veit-Wild is characterized as an “unreliable narrator” and “inside trader” due to her relationship with the poet. However, it is this position of Veit-Wild that allows us to decipher one of Marechera’s most difficult poems, “My Arms Vanished Mountains.” In using Veit-Wild as a window into my intepretation of Marechera, I also link Marechera’s poetics with that of a highly unlikely counterpart, Vladimir Nabokov. The impossibilities I allude to find their representation in Dambudzo Marechera’s “My Arms Vanished Mountains,” the poem Veit-Wild saved by chance.

In: Matatu