Orality in Postcolonial African Children's Literature


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The proposed project intends to examine the position of orality in postcolonial African children’s literature. Basing on Walter Benjamin theorization, I intend to examine whether or not there is loss of aura once African oral tales are recorded, transcribed, translated and published as children’s books. In the course of my analysis, I will further refer to Benjamin’s concept of progressive reaction with an argument that despite the risk of reproduced work losing aura,since the act of reproducing oral tales positions the audience at a distance readers can assume a critical role. As an example, I will examine how children’s books derived from African oral tales can demonstrate respective authors’ agency in presenting issues facing their daily lives by employing trickster characters.