Hall Center For The Humanities


African Literary Symposium
Featuring keynote speaker, Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of African and African American Studies and Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

Public Symposium

Sat., Oct. 29, 2011, 9:00am - 3:30pm

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies, Theatre, African and African-American Studies, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Africa World Press, English, and Western Civilization

The awarding of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Nigerian dramatist and social activist, Wole Soyinka, marked the first time the award had gone to an African writer. Since then, three other African writers have been the recipients of the award. This symposium will explore the roles of African writers and their works in light of this paradigmatic award. It will examine the state, focus, and direction of African literatures, both the verbal and performing arts, within a global context and from new critical perspectives. It will also investigate the response of a new generation of African writers to issues raised by transnationalism, migration, and local identities engendered by globalization.

The nature of African literature has gone through astonishing transformations, and globalization, in particular, has created a new category of African writers. The transnationals, consisting mostly of writers emerging in the last twenty-five years, but including some more established figures, move easily geographically and creatively among their home countries, other lands, and sources of inspiration.

What stories do these writers tell, and how do they tell them? How do the vision, focus, and style of the transnational writers differ from the earlier generations of anti-colonial and post-independent (postcolonial) writers? In what ways has globalization shaped contemporary African literatures, if any? How are contemporary African literatures situated in a newly emerging reconceptualization of World Literatures? Finally, has globalization, with all its complexities and implications, created new African literary aesthetics and critical impulses? The symposium will seek to address these questions.

The keynote speaker, Biodun Jeyifo, is Professor of African and African American Studies and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He is a renowned literary critic and theorist. Plenary speakers are drawn from multiple generation of African writers, theatre practitioners and critics, including Ghirmai Negash, Rotimi Martins,  Catherine McKinley, Nozipo Maraire, Niyi Coker, Anthonia Kalu, Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi, and Femi Euba.

For more information, please contact Omofolabo Ajayi- Soyinka (Theatre & Film/Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies) at 864-2691 or omofola@ku.edu.

Thursday, October 27

6:45-8:45 p.m.

Literary Mixer Medley at The Commons

  • Reading in African Languages and Translations, KU Faculty
    • Yoruba (Ajayi)
    • Wollof (KhadyTamba)
    • KiSwahili (Peter Ojiambo)
    • Igbo (Mary Mba)
    • French (Mary Mba)
    • English (Abayo Animashaun & Renee Morgan)
    • Arabic (Mohamed El-Hodiri)
  • Dance Performance, KU African Students Association

Friday, October  28

Keynote Speaker and Plenary Sessions at The Hall Center for the Humanities

9:00 a.m.: Coffee

9:10-9:20 a.m: Opening Remarks - Victor Bailey

Welcome and Introduction – Omofolabo Ajayi -Soyinka

9:20-10:50 a.m.: Plenary Session 1: "Writing Traumas: Imagining Peace, Imagining Justice"

  • "Apocalypse Now: Struggle for Justice in the Lower Niger," Byron Caminero-Santangelo
  • "Women and War in African Literature," Anthonia Kalu
  • "Woman of the Lake," Juliana Nfah-Abbeny
    • Facilitated by Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka

10:50-11:00 a.m.: Break

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Plenary Session II: "Globalization: Transnational Writing & Translations"

  • Excerpt from Indigo, Catherine McKinley
  • Reading, Nozipo Maraire
  • "Gebryesus Hailu's The Conscript," Ghirmai Negash
  • "Resident Alien" Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka
  • Excerpt from Ogun Omode, Pamela Smith

Facilitated by Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi

12:30 -1:30 p.m.: Break for Lunch

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Documentary: Tribute to A Writer: Wole Soyinka

Discussion: Post-Independent Meets Post-National

Facilitator: Niyi Coker

7:30 - 8:30 p.m.:Keynote Address – "Inside and Outside the Whale: Take Two," - Biodun Jeyifo

8:30 – 9:00 p.m.: Reception at the Hall Center

Saturday Oct 29 Venue: The Commons

9:00-9:10 a.m.: Coffee & Comments, Mohamed El Hodiri

9:10-10:40 a.m.: Plenary Session III: "Globalization: Migration, Nationalism and the Diaspora"

  • "Globalization and a Grain of Salt: An Emigrant Playwright's Reflections," Femi Euba
  • "New Directions in Contemporary North African Literature," Samirah Sayeh
  • "Nigerian Cinema Before Nollywood," Niyi Coker; Facilitated by Chinyere Okafor

10:40-10:50 a.m.: Break

10:50 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Plenary Session IV: "Theory and its Boundaries: A Roundtable  Discussion"

Facilitated by Rotimi Martins

12:25 -12:30 p.m.: Closing Remarks - Byron Caminero-Santangelo

Acknowledgments - Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka

1:45-3:30 p.m.: Theatre Performance -Camwood on the Leaves by Wole Soyinka

Irebado Libation - Alex Ogunmuyiwa

Wk Su M T W Th F Sa

Event Categories

Click for Archived Categories