Call for Papers

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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 deborah.nyangulu@uni-muenster.de (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

being me:

 

an African

a woman

and a writer.

 

Just take your racism

                        your sexism

                                    your pragmatism

                                                            off me;

 

overt

            covert or

                        internalized

 

And

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 (esther.pujolras@udl.cat) and Kwaku Larbi Korang (korang.1@osu.edu) by April 2, 2021.