Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 11. Nr. Dezember 2001

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Nation, Language and Literature. African and European Experiences and Positions
8.-10.2.2001, Yaounde (Cameroon)

About the colloquium

Nation, Language, Literature: these three notions form a triad which has often led to discourses which link them, establish equivalents, bring out their implications and their logical relationships even their diversities and breakdowns.

These discourses present, better still interpret a reality which at the same time they structure, renew and invent. In short these discourses are a testimony of an often explosive practice.

Hence language, notably in 19th century Europe served both as a crystallizing point for national feelings and as an instrument for imperial synchronisation and domination. Thus literature came to be presented as a privileged medium for expressing both language and nation while certain aesthetic programmes on the contrary aimed at decontructing one or the other in a fierce emancipation move.

In post colonial Africa, attempts to link three notions have nourished passionate and exciting debates which stem from complex experiences and sentiments such as a deep wound inflicted by the imperial process of language destruction, existential anxiety within a world whose logic disowns and marginalises one, sharp and contradictory identity aspirations, apprehensions raised by an incontrolled and uncontrollable literary discourse, hopes for integration into a modern society which at the same time inspires fear etc.

The colloquium is intended to provide a forum where experts from the North and South alike can study and analyse the various experiences and historical positions in both Africa and Europe and reflect on emergent trends such as the creation of a transnational literary space, nascent polyglosia etc.

It should therefore contribute toward the understanding of past experiences and reflect on the management of both the present and the future.

© David Simo (Yaoundé)

Table of contents: No.11

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