ENGL 430: Explorations of Gothic (M)Otherhood in African Fiction
This course will locate and address themes of isolation and anxiety in a selection of female, mother, and child experiences from colonial and postcolonial African fiction. To do so, scenes of woman-, mother- and childhood will be viewed through the multifaceted lens of female gothic tradition. This course is designed to encourage engagement with matters such as identity, anxiety, gender roles, abjection, genre, and horror, as well as intersections between multiple topics. The critical readings and fiction of this course are largely geared towards the following: (1) abjection and anxieties concerning motherhood and femininity and (2) the presence of said themes within the figure of the Abiku or Ogbanje. Texts, discussion and class projects will examine and theorize the use of gothic horror in the images of womanhood and subjectivity this course offers.
- Position portrayals of African motherhood & womanhood within the feminist and feminist gothic traditions
- Develop critical arguments concerning intersections of African female and gothic experiences in fiction
- Analyze gothic themes of abjection and isolation through a selection of African novels and short stories
- Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Headstrong Historian.” The Thing Around Your Neck. New York: Anchor Books, 2009. 198-218.
- Almond, Barbara. The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood. Oakland: University of California Press, 2010.
- Helgadottir, Margret, and Jo Thomas, eds. African Monsters. Vol. 2. Fox Spirit Books, 2015.
- Joseph-Vilain, Melanie. “‘The Famished Road’: Ben Okri’s Family Romance?” Commonwealth Essays and Studies2 (2013): 67-78.
- Khair, Tabish. The Gothic, Postcolonialism, and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
- Ladele, Omolola A. “The Àbikú Mystique – The Metaphor of Subversive Narrative in Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde.” Matatu: Journal for African Culture & Society1 (2013): 255-70.
- Mary, Balogun Olayinka, and Remy Oriaku. “Charting the Growth of Gyno-Texts in Nigerian Prose Fiction.” Journal of Pan African Studies9 (2014): 117-34.
- Nnolim, Charles E. Issues in African Literature. Lagos: Malthouse Press, 2009.
- Ouma, Christopher. “Reading the Diasporic Abiku in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl.” Research in African Literatures3 (2014): 188-205.
- Smith, Andrew, and Diana Wallace. “The Female Gothic: Then and Now.” Gothic Studies1 (2004): 1-7.
- Ward, Cynthia. “What They Told Buchi Emecheta: Oral Subjectivity and the Joys of ‘Otherhood’.” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America1 (1990): 83-97.
- The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
- The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
- Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta
- The Famished Road by Ben Okri
|The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
|“The Female Gothic: Then and Now” by Smith and Wallace
The Monster Within: Chapter 4 “’Before the Beginning’: Women’s Fears of Monstrous Births” by Almond
“Charting the Growth of Gyno-Texts in Nigerian Prose Fiction” by Mary and Oriaku
“What They Told Buchi Emecheta: Oral Subjectivity and the Joys of ‘Otherhood’” by Ward
|“The Headstrong Historian” By Adichie|
|The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi||“Reading the diasporic Abiku in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl” by Ouma
Issues in African Literature: Chapter 12 “The Unhappy Woman in Nigerian Fiction: A Mythic Interpretation of the Archetypes” by Nnolim
|Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta
|“The Àbikú Mystique – The Metaphor of Subversive Narrative in Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde” by Ladele
African Monsters: “One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sunlight”, “Sacrament of Tears”, and “Bush Baby” from Helgadottir and Thomas, eds.
The Famished Road by Ben Okri [Early start recommended]
|The Famished Road by Ben Okri||The Gothic, Postcolonialism, and Otherness: “Chapter 9: The Option of Magical Realism” and “Summing it Up” by Khair
“’The Famished Road’: Ben Okri’s Family Romance?” by Joseph-Vilain