ASNEL Papers 08

Towards a Transcultural Future.
Literature and Human Rights in a ‘Post’-Colonial World.

ASNEL Papers 8.
MARSDEN, Peter H. & Geoffrey V. DAVIS (Eds.)
Brill, Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2004.


“This well produced book contains much of value…”
NELM News, Vol.45, December 2006.

Studying postcolonial literatures in English can (and indeed should) make a human rights activist of the reader – there is, after all, any amount of evidence to show the injustices and inhumanity thrown up by processes of decolonization and the struggle with past legacies and present corruptions. Yet the human-rights aspect of postcolonial literary studies has been somewhat marginalized by scholars preoccupied with more fashionable questions of theory.
The present collection seeks to redress this neglect, whereby the definition of human rights adopted is intentionally broad. The volume reflects the human rights situation in many countries from Mauritius to New Zealand, from the Cameroon to Canada. It includes a focus on the Malawian writer Jack Mapanje.
The contributors’ concerns embrace topics as varied as denotified tribes in India, female genital mutilation in Africa, native residential schools in Canada, political violence in Northern Ireland, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the discourse of the Treaty of Waitangi. The editors hope that the very variety of responses to the invitation to reflect on questions of “Literature and Human Rights” will both stimulate further discussion and prompt action.

Table of Contents



Letter from Mary Robinson’s office

Jack Mapanje’s address to the conference

Letter from Dr. Hastings Banda

James GIBBS: Still in Bounds

James GIBBS: The Back-Seat Critic and the Front-Line Poet: The Case of Jack Mapanje, Scholar, Teacher, Poet, Detainee, Exile

Ahmed SALEH: Interview with Jack Mapanje

Edward O. AKO: Nationalism in Recent Cameroon Anglophone Literature

Hilarious N. AMBE: The Anglophone-Francophone Marriage and Anglophone Dramatic Compositions in the Cameroon Republic

Wumi RAJI: Ken Saro-Wiwa’s “Four Farcical Plays” and the Postcolonial Imagination

Karen KING-ARIBISALA: Picnic at Ekpe

Don MATTERA: Sea and sand

Sindiwe MAGONA: Reading from To My Children’s Children

Lesego RAMPOLOKENG: A play, this land is the stage

Lesego RAMPOLOKENG: The Fela Sermon (for Thomas Br├╝ckner)

Chantal ZABUS: Between Rites and Rights: Excision on Trial in African Women’s Texts and Human Contexts

Chandra CHATTERJEE: Anita Desai: The Compulsions of a Cosmetic Setting

J.U. JACOBS: Reconciling Languages in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull

Johannes A. SMIT: When ‘Trek’, ‘Gulf’ and ‘Guilt’ Go

Stuart MARLOW: The Dramaturgy of Political Violence: Challenges to Accepted Notions of Dramatic Discourse

Ken ARVIDSON: Testing Our Limits: Regionalism, Nationalism, and Selfhood in the Anglophone Literature/s of Oceania

Dieter RIEMENSCHNEIDER: “Governor high up, up, up, and Te Kemara down low, small, a worm, a crawler”: The political and
poetic discourse of the Treaty of Waitangi

Robert SULLIVAN: Chippewa Band of Nawash First Nation, Cape Croker Reservation, Georgian Bay, Canada

Robert SULLIVAN: Literature and Human Rights

Jamie S. SCOTT: Residential Schools and Native Canadian Writers

Lee MARACLE: Raven Understood

Mark SHACKLETON: Monique Mojica’s Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots and Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water: Countering
Misrepresentations of ‘Indianness’ in Recent Native North American Writing

Maggie Ann BOWERS: Eco-Criticism in a (Post-)Colonial Context and Leslie Marmon Silo’s Almanac of the dead

Lindsey COLLEN: Darkness, the Mother of

G.N. DEVY: For a Nomad called Thief

Rajiva WIJESINHA: Richard de Zoysa: His Life, Some Work…and a Death

Peter O. STUMMER: The New Cultural Divide: The Image of China and the Chinese (Literary) Diaspora

Jogamaya BAYER: Is the Coming of Justice Infinitely Deferred?

Gallery of Contributors and Subjects

Notes on Contributors.