Tomorrow we’ll discuss the novels: I’ll be in the classroom with those who read Sozaboy, and anyone reading Allah Is Not Obliged will meet in the lounge, which I’ve reserved. I’d like to make a slight change to our agenda for Thursday – hopefully a welcome one, as it means slightly fewer pages of new secondary reading! Here are the two things I’d like to do differently:
- I’d like to make Emily Apter’s chapter “War and Speech” required, and make the Coundouriotis article recommended rather than required. Apter discusses Sozaboy and Allah n’est pas obligé alongside one another. Apter’s chapter is available via the library’s electronic version of her book The Translation Zone, and it’s really very short.
- In addition to reading “Necropolitics,” I’d like to ask you to review the Mbembe essay we didn’t have time to discuss a couple of weeks ago – “Provisional Notes on the Postcolony.” We’ll make Thursday something of an Mbembe Day. If you want to go nuts, you can also take a look at the article by Mbembe that most frequently gets cited in discussions of Sozaboy: “The Banality of Power and the Aesthetics of Vulgarity in the Postcolony.” Public Culture 4.2 (1992). This is an earlier version of Ch. 3 of his 2000 On the Postcolony. If you’re planning to pursue African/postcolonial studies in the future, you might want to consider reading this book in its entirety at some point (it’s available in print and digitally through the library).
Here are a couple of other essays on Sozaboy that might prove useful.
Michael North, “Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy: The Politics of ‘Rotten English.” Public Culture 13.1 (2001): 97-112.
Sarah L. Lincoln, “Rotten English: Excremental Politics and Literary Witnessing.” Wale Adebanwi and Ebenezer Odabare, eds. Encountering the Nigerian State: Excess and Abjection. New York: Palgrave, 2010. 81-98.