Towards a Theory of Disability in the Postindependence Francophone African Novel


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Foreign Languages


Disability is a relatively recent area of scholarship especially in relation to the physical and mental inadequacy. Literary scholars have also reflected on this subject by developing theories in the field (David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder, 2001, Ato Quayson, 2003, 2007). In spite of all these literary interventions aimed at aesthetic representation of disability, not much seem to have been done in Francophone Africa unlike the Anglophone. Existing studies have focused largely on the physical and social dimensions of disability adopting essentially the medical and social approaches in their analyses. This study differs by engaging the literary discourse of disability from the legal perspective. Against this backdrop, this study engages the trope of disability through social and legal models. Purposively selected post-independence Francophone novels: Aminata Sow Fall's La grève des bàttu, Ken Bugul's La folie et la mort, Fatou Diome's Celle qui attendent, Sylvain Kean Zoh's La voie de ma rue and Alain Mabanckou's Le petits-fils nègres de Vercingétorix are closely read through the interdisciplinary perspectives on disability, law and liberation developed by Quayson, Oladitan and Fanon.