Nationalism in Africa has to deal with a conception of the category of nation as a mediator between self and world which is complicated by a number of competing factors. Colonialism and neocolonialism, ethnic, racial and religious considerations, and other supra-national and intra-national factors all vie for the power to variously define the nation or reject it. With a cultural raison d’être at the core of any nation’s distinctiveness, I study five Ivorian authors’ evolving conceptions of the Côte d’Ivoire within their novels—their cultural products—from 1995 to 2006. This time period in the Côte d’Ivoire is one of a civil war and the lead-up to it—a time of extreme tension on the national identity’s definition. I argue that works from Amadou Kourouma, Kitia Touré, Amadou Koné, Véronique Tadjo, and Tanella Boni from this period all perform an Ivorian-ness which contrasts in various ways from the state’s official doctrine of Ivoirité—a uniquely Ivorian discourse which reinforced a budding agonism in the conception of the nation on the ground and ultimately served to foment the exclusion of the Northern half of the country. Using tools taken by analogy primarily from Jameson’s The Political Unconscious, I demonstrate that allegorical readings serve well as a basis from which to make deeper insights and reveal deeper traces of each novel’s performance of its own conception of Ivorian-ness. In this way I show that despite its history as an imposed, artificial, and modern category of identity, the cultural agents and producers of the Côte d’Ivoire are invested in nation‘s potential, not as a temporary step toward more global poles of mediation between self and world, not as an institution inevitably fraught with internal minorities and divisions, but as a positive unit of solidarity in and of itself.
|Advisor:||Mecchia, Giuseppina, Hatcher, Roberta|
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African literature, Sub Saharan Africa Studies|
|Keywords:||Allegory, Boni, Tanella, Cote d'Ivoire, Identity, Kone, Amadou, Kourouma, Amadou, Nationalism, Tadjo, Veronique, Toure, Kitia|
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