Hybridise or Disappear: Understanding Departure, Migration/Diaspora, Environment and Cultural Ecology in Helon Habila’s Fiction


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Languages and Linguistics


This work, being the first comprehensive study of Helon Habila’s novels, broadly or collectively categorised under the “Nigerian Diaspora Literature”, places Habila’s novels in their socio-political, historical, theoretical and discursive contexts. The objective of this study is to investigate multiple themes and among which are the treatment and representation of migration, diaspora, subjectivity, fragments of the self, ecological devastation, insurgency and the decadence of culture in Nigeria. However, the notion of “Diaspora Literature” itself has been so controversial and contested: dismissed or perceived as ever-changing/diverse by some, embraced as critically engaging by others—but, all the time, it remains stubbornly resistant to precise definition. To probe further, the researcher relies on the primary sources (i.e., the novels) and the secondary sources (i.e., published books, journal articles, magazines, and e-materials). The study hopes to conclude on how the reader may connect with the experience of post-colonial conditions through a close reading of the select novels of Habila.
Key words: migration, ecology, insurgency, diaspora and post-coloniality