CALL FOR PAPERS—RAL Special Issue on South African Literature A Priori
Guest Editors: Ronit Frenkel and Sikhumbuzo Mngadi
The word “a priori” has its origin in late 16th-century Latin and means “from what is before.” While the aim of this special issue is to examine the shifts and continuities of South African literature after Marikana (2012), the phrase “South African literature a priori” highlights the historical currents that create present forms, while simultaneously asserting that this new configuration of things is somewhat different from what was before. It is at this juncture of difference and continuity that we place this reading of contemporary South African literary studies.
South African literary studies post-independence has been termed transitional and then post-transitional in the main. The post-transitional was marked by a burgeoning of themes, styles, and concerns—to simplify this problematic concept—in relation to the dominant conceptualization of transitional literature. But South Africa is no longer in a transitional space; so, what has it become, as read through its literature? The “transnational turn” in global literary studies has resulted in many South African writers setting their works outside of the country’s borders altogether, while conceptions of world literature have dominated literary studies globally. In this context of accelerated change, both locally and globally, literary patterns and trends must necessarily reflect changing cultural configurations. What impact does this have on literary cultures in South Africa?
The question is then what kinds of narratives are shaping South Africa post-2012, after the first major government-involved massacre after liberation when the image of South Africa in the global imaginary shifted fundamentally again. What narratives do we currently have that can adequately make sense of this shifting context where old nomenclature is inadequate? Can we think through literary texts that reflect the nuances of the present better? This special issue aims to examine South African literature and the theoretical conceptions that define South African literary and cultural production from 2012 onward. Submissions may discuss any genre or pattern in South African literature of the present.
All finished manuscripts are expected to conform to the standard RAL guidelines published in every issue of the journal and all submissions will be subject to peer review. Prospective contributors should send their 300–500-word abstracts by January 15, 2021 and expect notification of selection by February 1, 2021. Final papers are due by May 15, 2021 and will be subject to peer review. The guest editors encourage potential contributors to establish early contact via email to email@example.com (Sikhumbuzo Mngadi) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Ronit Frenkel).
Call for Papers—RAL Special Issue on Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift: Disruption
Guest Editor: Deborah Nyangulu
Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift (2019), just like its author’s political commitments, is innovatively disruptive ... but is all nonchalant about it. The genealogies and contexts for African writing are multiple and dispersed. Many before have disrupted systems that require continuous disruptions. The keyword for organizing essays in this special issue is disruption.
Dedicated to Serpell’s The Old Drift, this 600-page genre-bending, spatial-temporal-rupturing, history-disrupting, nation-centering unapologetically Zambian novel, deserves its own special issue. And yet its Zambianess, as has been noted by Mwanabibi Sikamo in a review for the Lusaka Times, is also written for the world.
The issue invites submissions that critically engage with the above by foregrounding any analytical category of choice: intertextuality, history, prose, race, decolonization, genealogy, migration, class, colonialism, solidarity, transnational, belonging, gender, sexuality, displacement, nation, fallism, social realism, dispossession, intersectionality, Afrofuturism, hair, faces, genre, illness, allegory, love, sight, etc. Examples of topics that contributors can engage with as they relate to the novel include but are not limited to:
- How Serpell’s oeuvre features in and influences the novel
- Intertextual references to Zambian literature or other texts beyond
- Mother-daughter relationships
- Constructions of race and whiteness
- Orality and folklore
- Italian presence in Rhodesia
- Migration, displacement, and belonging
- Serpell’s modes of self-fashioning and political commitments
- The digital and literature
- Anti-colonial nationalism and allegory
- Global literary marketplace
- HIV/AIDS epidemic and scientific research
All finished manuscripts are expected to conform to the standard RAL guidelines published in every issue of the journal, and all submissions will be subject to peer review. Prospective contributors should send their 300–500-word abstracts by February 28, 2021 and expect notification of selection by March 08, 2021. Final papers are due by July 12, 2021 and will be subject to peer review. The guest editor encourages potential contributors to establish early contact via email to email@example.com (Deborah Nyangulu).
Call for Papers—RAL Special Issue on Ama Ata Aidoo
Guest Editors: Esther Pujolras Noguer and Kwaku Larbi Korang
I have been happy
and a writer.
Just take your racism
damn you! (“An Angry Letter in January”)
As her poem “An Angry Letter in January” testifies, Ama Ata Aidoo loudly proclaims her identity as an African woman writer. Born in the central region of Ghana, her life has met colonialism, has enjoyed and celebrated the euphoria that comes alongside independence, has resented and criticized the neocolonialist aftermath of independence, and, throughout, she has always maintained an unyielding position as a woman. When critics heralded Chinua Achebe as “the Father of African Literature,” some of us wondered about who the Mother of African Literature could be. Ama Ata Aidoo is undoubtedly a firm candidate to hold this title. In 1991, her novel Changes. A Love Story was awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, her work remains an indelible beacon for the younger generation of African writers and her “black-eyed squint” is still dissecting the ambiguities and ambivalences of the postcolonial condition. We cannot envisage modern African writing without acknowledging her work.
One defining aspect of Aidoo’s oeuvre is its resistance to generic and linguistic constraints. She has written plays, poetry, short stories, and novels and has successfully created a distinctive African tapestry, which is what modulates and inflects her English with a unique and persistently female African flavor. Considering the originality of Aidoo’s writing, we welcome proposals that seek to explore the intersections of language, culture, gender, genre, patriarchy, History and histories, memory, desire, nation-building and nationalism, marriage, family, myth and folklore, authorship, race/ethnicity, class, diaspora, and form and aesthetics.
All finished manuscripts are expected to conform to the standard RAL guidelines published in every issue of the journal and all submissions will be subject to peer review. Prospective contributors should send their abstract (300 words) to Esther Pujolras Noguer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kwaku Larbi Korang (email@example.com) by April 2, 2021.
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