Illocutionary Power of Child-Focalised Post-1990 African Fictional Texts in English


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project explores the illocutionary power of child-focalised texts to articulate and/or build archives that insightfully discuss the vulnerability of African troubled childhoods in the post-1990 context. To further and underscore our understanding of how child-narrated texts can heighten readers’ comprehension of the theme of troubled childhoods, I propose to undertake the following. First, I bring together various texts that document African childhood trauma into one analytical project. Second, I bring on board memoirs of people subjected to troubling experiences as children to test and presumably confirm how fictional accounts and their use of imagined child voices in narrators’ descriptions of their victimization allow for a subtle and nuanced depiction of this phenomenon in the African literary public sphere. Third, I examine how the deployment of child narrators/protagonists underlines the credibility of children’s experience of war, incest, prostitution and cruel parenting as articulated in fictitious and nonfictional texts. I argue that the eloquent and memorable writing of imaginary and factual texts dealing with the theme of child abuse effectively deploy the affective, persuasive and/or convincing power imbedded in narratives to influence public perceptions and awareness about this topic.