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Representations of slavery and the slave trade in the francophone West African novel

Omuku, SAG; (2013) Representations of slavery and the slave trade in the francophone West African novel. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Representations of domestic slavery and the trans-Saharan and transatlantic systems of the slave trade in Francophone West African literature incorporate remembering and forgetting through oral, corporeal and spatial narratives. With respect to the oral epic and the postcolonial novel, this thesis approaches the paucity of literature on slavery and the slave trade from the perspective of cultural memory and trauma theory. Through the presence of the slave voice in the West African oral epics of Segou, Macina, and the Songhay Empire and the use of this genre in the novels of Aminata Sow Fall and Yambo Ouologuem, this thesis explores the notion of the manipulation of oral memory through omission, invention, and fictionalisation, and examines the marginalisation of the slave past and the reclaiming of this record via an alternative slave narrative within the novel. Corporeal narratives of slavery and the slave trade in the novels of Timité Bassori, Ibrahima Ly, Yambo Ouologuem and Ali Zada depict the body both as a site and a memory of slavery. Through the body, slavery is re-enacted by the repetition of the corporeal wound as a manifestation of the physiological and psychological trauma of slavery, and the transmission of that memory through the reproductive capacity of the female body. The novels of M’Barek Ould Beyrouk and Ahmed Yedaly interrogate the concept of ex-slavery in the Sahara with reference to Mauritania, whilst Kangni Alem and Tierno Monénembo navigate transatlantic notions of departure and return within the context of Brazil, specifically Salvador de Bahia. By examining slavery from a geographical perspective, these authors highlight the significance of spatial remembering within a trans-Saharan and transatlantic memory of slavery and the slave trade.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Representations of slavery and the slave trade in the francophone West African novel
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Slavery, Slave trade, West Africa, novel
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1397876
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