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    Imagined nations and imaginary Nigeria: Chinua Achebe’s quest for a country

    Msiska, Mpalive-Hangson (2017) Imagined nations and imaginary Nigeria: Chinua Achebe’s quest for a country. In: Moses, D. and Haarten, L. (eds.) Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide: the Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967–1970. Routledge Studies in Modern History series. London, UK and New York, U.S.: Routledge. ISBN 9780415347587.

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    The paper argues that Chinua Achebe’s memoir, There was a country: a personal history of Biafra (2012) articulates a hankering after a home, a habitable country in the context of colonially-derived contradictions embedded in the institutional formation of Nigeria, the failure of the nationalist and postcolonial leadership to resolve such contradictions as well as the legacy of ethnicity. It demonstrates how the memoir expresses the writer’s despair at unfulfilled hopes, whilst also celebrating utopic moments such as his colonial childhood, the independence of Nigeria and the founding of Biafra. It is the dramatic contrast between promise and actuality that engenders a deep sense of loss, just as it is what inspires the belief in the possibility of a transformed and habitable Nigeria. For its conceptual framework, the paper uses trauma theory, particularly Dominick LaCapra’s, Cathy Caruth’s, Roger Luckhurst’s and Georgio Agamben’s and also theories of national and subject formation, such as Homi Bhabha’s, Benedict Anderson’s and Louis Althusser’s. Furthermore, it argues that the memoir is committed to truth-telling as demonstrated by its breaking the national silence over the Nigerian civil war (1966-1970) and its assertion that a genocide had been perpetrated against the Biafrans and that there is need for accountability and justice.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Mpalive-Hangson Msiska
    Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2016 10:28
    Last Modified: 12 Jun 2021 18:54


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