STREAM: Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.

STREAM: Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.

Always straddling and dismantling the boundaries between truthfulness and imagination, between memory, concealment and referentiality, between psychology, history, geography and literature, autobiographical narrative invites the audience to (re-)consider the relations between text and context, or text and co-texts. In its counterdiscursive capacity, postcolonial autobiographical narrative has been especially emphatic in this respect: its critical constellation in the end rests on reference to political practices and hierarchies beyond the text, weaving palimpsestic layers of (counter-)meanings. In this light it is not surprising that many African autobiographers have stressed the importance of realism for their work, and they and their publishers often employ various strategies – in the text, but also in paratextual elements – to enhance the effect of realism as the starting point of meaning-making.

Meanwhile, discussions on African autobiographical narrative have over the last decades expanded to include oral genres, life histories, auto-ethnographies, online blogs and Facebook pages, apart from the more classic form of a published book. This begs the question how relations between text and context are established in these more recent forms of autobiography.

In this thematic stream we will focus on text, paratext and context in autobiographical narratives from Africa. We welcome paper proposals that deal with African autobiographical narrative in whatever form – published, online, oral –, and in principle from any discipline or from an interdisciplinary perspective.

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Tom Odhiambo (tom.odhiambo@uonbi.ac.ke); Godwin Siundu (Godwins57@gmail.com or godwin.siundu@uonbi.ac.ke); Inge Brinkman (Inge.Brinkman@UGent.be). For papers please await the official call for papers, which is expected in September 2017.

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