The Postcolonial African Genocide Novel

BookThe Postcolonial African Genocide Novel

The Postcolonial African Genocide Novel

Quests for Meaningfulness


October 1st, 2021


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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched.

In The Postcolonial African Genocide Novel, Chigbo Anyaduba examines fictional responses to mass atrocities occurring in postcolonial Africa. Through a comparative reading of novels responding to the genocides of the Igbo in Nigeria (1966-1970) and the Tutsi in Rwanda (1990-1994), the book underscores the ways that literary encounters with genocides in Africa’s postcolonies have attempted to reimagine the conditions giving rise to exterminatory forms of mass violence. The book concretizes and troubles one of the apparent truisms of genocide studies, especially in the context of imaginative literature: that the reality of genocide more often than not resists meaningfulness. Particularly given the centrality of this truism to artistic responses to the Holocaust and to genocides more generally, Anyaduba tracks the astonishing range of meanings drawn by writers at a series of (temporal, spatial, historical, cultural and other) removes from the realities of genocide in Africa’s postcolonies, a set of meanings that are often highly‐specific and irreducible to maxims or foundational cases. The book shows that in the artistic projects to construct meanings against genocide’s nihilism writers of African genocides deploy tropes that while significantly oriented to African concerns are equally shaped by the representational conventions and practices associated with the legacies of the Holocaust.

“Chigbo Arthur Anyaduba connects the study of postcolonial African literature produced by Adichie and other notable writers with another field of research that has recently been stimulated by transnational perspectives: the interdisciplinary field of genocide studies. This monograph will make a novel contribution and find an audience within literary and postcolonial studies.”
Lasse Heerten, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

'This ground-breaking study traces the fraught "meanings" associated with genocide in Africa. [...] The Postcolonial African Genocide Novel is adept at teasing out these tensions and contradictions. [...] This innovative book [...] demonstrates how far literary depictions of genocide on the African continent depart from their Jewish counterparts.'
Bryan Cheyette, Times Literary Supplement

Author Information

Chigbo Arthur Anyaduba is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Winnipeg.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Part I: Writing Genocide in Africa's Postcolonies27
1. Genocide in Africa’s Postcolony29
2. The Holocaust and Literary Representation of Postcolonial African Genocides69
Part II: Artistic Quests for Meaningfulness in the Hells of Postcolonial African Genocides107
3. Genocide as a Tragedy109
4. Writing the “African” Holocaust149
5. Gendering the Postcolonial African Genocide Novel181
6. The Rwanda Genocide and the Pornographic Imagination in Courtemanche213