By Handel Kashope Wright
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Additional info for A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of Literature in Africa Is Not What It Was (Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 40.)
The African student cannot bring her or his background knowledge to bear in appreciating texts from this British tradition since the depictions are not of African landscapes, climes, peoples, and cultures. All of this does not preclude the possibility of the African student coming to appreciate and even love English literature texts. Certainly, in my own case, I grew to love literature in general and works like Dickens’ Great Expectations, Pope’s “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot,” and Shakespeare’s Macbeth in particular.
And if you really take that seriously, which means for me to take that in terms of one’s self, and not to say “let me ﬁnd an academic knowledge about this” but “what knowledge do I possess myself, which is historical? ” (p. 260) Thus in reference to the discipline of history speciﬁcally, Corrigan’s assertion is in part that it is possible to create new historical knowledge by drawing on one’s personal and immediate knowledge and that the knowledge thus produced would be different from and impossible to achieve through exclusively “objective,” established, distanced, disembodied academic ruminations.
Following in Achebe’s footsteps but taking a more overtly cultural studies approach, I examine the role literature could play in the process of social and economic development in Africa. ”). However, my main focus in this chapter is not with the perennial western cultural studies concern with obfuscating the high/low culture divide. I am more interested in how traditional and non-traditional creative and expressive African forms come together in a reconception of “literature” as cultural studies such that literature can be harnessed in the utilitarian project of African development.