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Marzagora, Sara (2016) 'The humanism of reconstruction: African intellectuals, decolonial critical theory and the opposition to the ‘posts’ (postmodernism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism).' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 28 (2). pp. 161-178.

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This article traces the mixed fortunes of what intellectuals like Paul Tiyambe Zeleza refer to as the ‘posts’ (poststructuralism, postmodernism and postcolonialism) in African studies. It documents the historical processes and intellectual developments that, starting from the 1980s, laid the ground for an integration of deconstructive elements in the thought of African scholars. Despite the support garnered from scholars like Achille Mbembe, the ‘posts’ have encountered in African studies a high degree of opposition, if not outright hostility. Deconstructionism was perceived by many theorists to dangerously depart from the pressing ethico-political concerns and humanistic imperatives of the African intellectual agenda. Mbembe's concept of Afropolitanism is similarly being criticized for magnifying some of the theoretical prejudices and weaknesses of which the ‘posts’ (and particularly postcolonial studies) had already been accused. The article concludes by discussing some theoretical solutions put forward by African scholars to move away from rigid conceptions of cultural essentialism while retaining a notion of identity stable enough to be mobilized politically and ideologically.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
ISSN: 13696815
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 02 May 2016 19:47

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