Numerous studies have contributed to making people aware of the ongoing stereotyping of ‘the Other’ in Western imagination. However, Africa views of Self and Otherness have been studied much less. Yet, right from the earliest contacts with Europe, Africa developed its own myths about ‘Self” and ‘Other’, conveyed in oral and written literatures, and in cultural movements – myths that passionately challenged Western cultural biases and debates. To a large extent, these debates have been ignored in Western culture. Being the object, as opposed to the subject, of the ‘gaze’ is not easy.
This book surveys a wide range of writings and ideas from Africa itself, and by people of African descent, on various ways in which ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ have been imagined and defined from African perspectives. Attention is focused on identity issues regarding Africa, Panafricanism, American Black culture, Negritude, Black Consciousness, as well as on whiteness as otherness, Black versus a white cultures and gender matters in a racialized context. Some theoretical issues in the academic debate on insiders, outsiders and intercultural dialogue are also discussed, with examples from various disciplines. Five interviews with leading writers conclude the book.
“Mineke Schipper has thought long and hard about the ways in which the identities of critics shape both the critical interpretations and the reception of their work. In this book she brings that reflection, and her extensive knowledge of literary scholarship in Europe, Africa and North America, to bear on questions of literature and identity. This is a fascinating work.” Kwame Anthony Appiah , Harvard University
“Cette nouvelle publication est à la fois une étude scientifique très documentée et une œuvre militante pour un rééquilibre des rôles respectifs de l’Occident et de ce qu’il appelle le Tiers-Monde.” Etudes littéraires Africaines