"Selfhood in South African Poetry: A Bakhtinian Approach"


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


English Literary Studies


It became apparent as I worked on a Bakhtinian analysis of selected Victorian texts that Bakhtin’s theories on the dialogical nature of language and, consequently, on selfhood (or identity) were hugely applicable to the many voices and cultures reflected in South Africa’s heterogeneous societies and, consequently, in its narratives. My postdoctoral research project will demonstrate this contention and result in a paper or a series of articles using the approach pioneered in my PhD dissertation. For the current project I shall apply Bakhtinian ideas on the nature of language to close readings of various South African poems, past and present. My project should add to our understanding of the social, ethical and political diversities found in Africa, and provide a basis for ongoing research into the appreciation of Literature in English not only on this continent but also in a universal context. Concurrent with this project I intend also to continue adapting my PhD dissertation for publication as a monograph.