‘DestroyedMichygen’: re-routing the postnational in contemporary diaspirant fiction

Masterson, John (2018) ‘DestroyedMichygen’: re-routing the postnational in contemporary diaspirant fiction. Research in African Literatures, 49 (1). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0034-5210

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Abstract

This paper explores three novels published in the Obama era: NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names (2013), Okey Ndibe's Foreign Gods, Inc. (2014), and Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air (2010). It considers how writing both by and on Obama illuminates some of the central preoccupations of what I am choosing to call these “diaspirant” texts. The paper unpacks the paradigm of “diaspirancy,” probing both its utility and limitations when it comes to a new generation of diasporic writing, often labeled African and American. This allows me to consider the extent to which all three of my contextually specific novels are both invoking and seeking to interrogate certain discourses of American exceptionalism amplified in the context of Obama's presidency. Similarly, the paper argues that, while the postnational label is used in indiscriminate and often exclusive ways when it comes to African contexts, all three of my chosen writers consider how it might speak to the peculiar contours of twenty-first-century America. These are thrown into starker relief when viewed through the migrant lens so central to Bulawayo, Ndibe, and Mengestu, as well as much of Obama's rhetoric before, during, and after his time in office.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: John Masterson
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 08:24
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 08:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61498

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