Transcultural Modernities

Narrating Africa in Europe


The swelling flows of migration from Africa towards Europe have aroused interest not only in the socio-political consequences of the migrants’ insistent appeals to ‘fortress Europe’ but also in the artistic integration of African migrants into the cultural world of Europe. While in recent years the creative output of Africans living in Europe has received attention from the media and in academia, little critical consideration has been given to African migrants’ modes of narration and the manner in which these modes give expression to, or are an expression of, their creators’ transcultural realities. Transcultural Modernities: Narrating Africa in Europe responds to this need for reflection by examining the manner in which migrants compose and negotiate their Euro-African affiliations in their narratives. The book brings together scholars in the fields of literary and art criticism, cultural studies, and anthropology for an extensive interdisciplinary exchange on the specific modes of narration displayed in Euro-African literatures, the visual arts, and cinema, as well as offering ethnographic case studies. The result is a wide range of reflections on how African artists, writers, and ordinary people living in Europe experience and explore their transcultural and/or postcolonial environments, and how their experiences and explorations in turn contribute to the construction of modern Euro-African life-worlds.


EUR €125.00USD $159.00

Biographical Note

ELISABETH BEKERS is Lecturer in British and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Brussels (VUB) and also teaches Literatures in English at the University of Antwerp. SISSY HELFF is a senior lecturer in English literary and cultural studies in the Department for the New Literatures in English at the University of Frankfurt. DANIELA MEROLLA is a senior lecturer in African literatures in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Africa, Leiden University.
Contributors: Susan Arndt, Elisabeth Bekers, Katrin Berndt, Sabrina Brancato, Nadia Butt, Jacobia Dahm, Elisa Diallo, Susanne Gehrmann, Marie–Hélène Gutberlet, Sissy Helff, Bettina Horn–Udeze, Graham Huggan, Fouad Laroui, Annika McPherson, Christine Matzke, Daniela Merolla, Obododimma Oha, Peter Pedroni, Daphne Pappers, Marie–Christine Press, Eila Rantonen, Alex Rotas, Frank Schulze–Engler, Daria Tunca, Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Illustrations Introduction New Euro-African Literary Spaces Sabrina BRANCATO: Voices Lost in a Non-Place: African Writing in Spain Peter N. PEDRONI: Kossi Komla–Ebri and Migrant Writing in Italy Daniela MEROLLA: Poetics of Transition: Africa and Dutch Literary Space Elisabeth BEKERS: Chronicling Beyond Abyssinia: African Writing in Flanders, Belgium Eila RANTONEN: African Voices in Finland and Sweden Literary Perspectives Frank SCHULZE–ENGLER: Transcultural Modernities and Anglophone African Literature Susan ARNDT: Euro-African Trans-Spaces? Migration, Transcultural Narration and Literary Studies Elisabeth BEKERS: Culture in Transit: The Migration of Female Genital Excision to Europe in Euro-African Writing Susanne GEHRMANN: Black Masculinity, Migration and Psychological Crisis: A Reading of Simon Njami’s African Gigolo Elisa DIALLO: Polyphony, Old ‘Lyonnais’ and Animism: Africa in Urban Europe in Un Rêve utile de Tierno Monénembo Nadia BUTT: Negotiating Untranslatability and Islam in Leila Aboulela’s The Translator Obododimma OHA: ‘Occupying the Isolated Terminal Space and Silent’: The Rhetoric of Inclusion and Exclusion in the Poetry of Femi Oyebode Daria TUNCA: Linguistic Counterpoint in Gbenga Agbenugba’s Another Lonely Londoner Visual and Cinematographic Narratives Alex ROTAS: New Labels, But It’s Still Labelling: Ibrahim El Salahi and Mohamed Bushara as ‘Asylum Artists’ in the UK Marie–Christine PRESS: North African Modernities: Myth Stripped Bare Daphne PAPPERS: Spies in the Sixteenth Arrondissement: Myriam Mihindou Exhibits at the Musée Dapper in Paris Jacobia DAHM: Emigrants and Immigrants of Burkina Faso, Senegal, and France: Ousmane Sembène’s La Noire De ... and S. Pierre Yameogo’s Moi et mon blanc Marie–Hélène GUTBERLET: Towards an Aesthetic of the Migrant Self: The Film Le Clandestin by José Zeka Laplaine Nwachukwu Frank UKADIKE: Critical Dialogues: Transcultural Modernities and Modes of Narrating Africa in Documentary Films Imagining Life – Narrating Stories Graham HUGGAN: Imagining Disaster in the African Postcolony Sissy HELFF: Refugee Life Narratives: The Disturbing Potential of a Genre and the Case of Mende Nazer Katrin BERNDT: Shared Paradoxes in Namibian and German History: Lucia Engombe’s Kind Nr. 95 Annika LIEBY–MCPHERSON: From Utopia to Atopia to Diaspora? Social (Re-)Organization in a German Refugee Home Bettina HORN–UDEZE: “Here in Europe it’s like a secret cult”: A Nigerian Migrant’s Narration of Initiation into the System of Migration Christine MATZKE: “Performing ‘Africa’” in Germany: Members of abok Theatre Company in Conversation Fouad LAROUI: Misunderstandings: Working Euro-African Life into Fiction Creative Writing Fouad LAROUI: Le Pyjama bleu Chika UNIGWE: Cotton Candy Notes on Contributors and Editors Notes for Contributors