“The power of language in post-colonial Africa” study half day

Wednesday 11 March 2015 (1.00-5.30pm), Milldam LE1.04 The role of the former colonisers’ languages has been a central concern in postcolonial studies. This has generally been examined in terms of the two broad positions of appropriation and abrogation, articulated most vigorously by postcolonial writers throughout the second half of the twentieth century. In the twenty-first century, the debate is still relevant, with a number of questions that remain open with particular reference to postcolonial settings: what are the roles of local and European languages in the tension between global cultural/economic flows and local issues of identity, state-building and continued efforts towards decolonisation? what are the motivations and consequences in recent developments regarding language policy? to what extent is the metaphor of appropriation able to describe the position of European languages within the sociolinguistic scenarios? how can the concepts of super-diversity and language hybridity help us re-conceptualize the link between language and national identity? In our study day we would like to bring together writers and scholars to address those questions with reference to specific contexts in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone sub-saharan Africa. Programme 13.00-13.15: Welcome 13.15-14.45: Anglophone and Lusophone Africa Prof Tope Omoniyi (Roehampton): Disseminating Public Health Information: Lessons from […]

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Hélène de Gobineau’s Noblesse d’Afrique

Prof Margaret Majumdar, Professor of Francophone Studies, University of Portsmouth December 2014’s edition of Le Monde diplomatique discusses the newly republished edition of Hélène de Gobineau’s Noblesse d’Afrique by Présence africaine (Paris, 2014), along with other works relating to the role of African colonial troops in the two world wars. Originally published in Paris in 1946 by Fasquelle éditeurs, this book relates the experiences and stories of African soldiers during the Second World War. These were told to Hélène de Gobineau during her time as a volunteer in prisoner-of-war camps and hospitals where she came into contact with captured African soldiers, many of whom would die of disease, especially tuberculosis. They are remarkable for the stories of individual courage in the fight to preserve a basic human dignity, while not devoid of humour and everyday concerns. Hélène de Gobineau (1903-1958) studied ethnology at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and was married to the grandson of Arthur de Gobineau, author of Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines. She clearly did not share the latter’s views on racial inequality and praised the strength and humanity of the African soldiers who took part in the Second World War, as well as their desire […]

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