The Genre of Ethnoautobiography and Nigerian Migrant and Travel Poetry in English


African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships




The study interrogates the view of traditional anthropologists that ethnographies are objective records of social history but that literary autobiographies are inauthentic records of social history because they are subjective and self-reflexive. This view is held despite postmodern anthropologists’ and social scientists' position that ethnographies are self-reflexive constructions of cultural history, which can only be appropriately conceptualised as autoethnographies. By exploring the interplay of history, geography, and personal experiences in Nigerian migrant and travel poetry in English, the study demonstrates that well crafted self-writings as cultural productions involve both the re/writing of self and society. This is done through a historico-biographical exploration of social poetics and tropes of cultural memory in poetic autobiographies of Tanure Ojaide, Odia Ofeimun, Femi Oyebode, Afam Akeh, Olu Oguibe, Remi Raji-Oyelade, and Uche Nduka.