The Politics of Biography in Africa: Borders, Margins, and Alternative Histories of Power (Routledge Studies on Gender and Sexuality in Africa) (Hardcover)
Bringing together historians, political scientists, and literary analysts, this volume shows how biographical narratives can shed light on alternative, little known or under-researched aspects of state power in African politics.
Part 1 shows how biographical narratives breathe new life into subjects who, upon decolonization, had been reduced to silence - women, workers, and radical politicians. The contributors analyze the complex relationship between biographical narratives and power, questioning either the power of biographical codes peculiar to western, colonial origins, or the power to shape public memory. Part 2 reflects on the act of (auto-)biography writing as an exercise of power, one that blurs the lines between truth and invention. (Auto-)biographical narratives appear as politicized, ambiguous stories. Part 3 focuses on female leadership during and after colonization, exploring on how women gained, lost, or reinvented power. Brought together, the contributions of this volume show that the function of biographical narratives should no longer oscillate between romanticized narratives and historical evidence; their varied formats all offer fruitful opportunities for a multidisciplinary dialogue.
This book will be of interest to scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds working on the African postcolonial state, the decolonization process, women's and gender studies, and biography writing.