Come listen to excerpts from Christopher Ouma’s book on childhood in African Diaspora Literature. Christoper’s book examines how experiences of childhood are capable of inaugurating contemporary and diasporic modes of re-imagining Africa. In this conversation, he sheds light on the childhood experiences of the 1960s through to the late 1980s, as narrated by writers who have formed a community of postcolonial African Diasporas in the West and who are writing in the postmillennial era. Ouma’s exploration of childhood provides a set of ideas that link childhood to time and memory, place and space, gender and sexuality, war and heritage, migration and diaspora.

Ouma argues that these ideas are narratively constructed as tropological sites for understanding the evolving construction of African identity and the contemporary experiences of its diasporas. Thus the book appropriates childhood as a figurative engagement with coeval forms of identity, and as a framework for negotiating such social identifications as class, gender, and sexuality. Instead of a thematic reading of childhood, the book engages it as a discursive practice “foregrounded to grapple with contemporary forms of identity that arise from an embodied pluri-dimensional continental and diasporic experience.

Responding to Christopher Ouma is Sarah Emily Duff (Colby College) and our very own Nduka Otiono (Institute of African Studies, Carleton University). You don’t want to miss this exciting discussion!

This talk is hosted by Professor Shireen HassimCanada 150 Research Chair in Gender and African Politics, Institute of African Studies, Carleton University


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