By Handel Kashope Wright
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Extra resources 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.)
It is with an awareness of the transformative potential in the present that I work toward a better future. For me the future is not simply the inevitable hereafter. Rather, I take the view of Simon, Dippo and Schenke (1991) that The future is not a destination, a place where we will eventually end up. It is a contestable vision, a particular human judgment, which can either incite change or justify existing realities. (p. 185) This book expresses in part my ongoing examination of how oral, written, and electronic African and non-African texts could be taken up in traditional and non-traditional educational contexts texts in such a way that they contribute to the evolution of a progressive, decolonized, and just society, within and beyond Africa.
In other words the problem of Eurocentrism (which is at the root of my discomfort with literature studies in Africa) was not to be solved or circumvented by simply making a transition to cultural studies. In fact, I discovered that despite its empowering, expansive, and progressive politics, cultural studies was for the most part characterized as much as English studies is by an equally pervasive, taken-for-granted Eurocentrism. I therefore began to work on how an African cultural studies would be different from a received Eurocentric cultural studies.
6 In the ﬁeld of literature studies the fact that Eagleton’s works have become a “must read” in progressive circles and courses is an ironic testimony to the inevitability of canons. The inevitability of canons means that what is important is not so much the eradication of canons (an impossible task in my view) but rather an examination and revision of the process of canon formation and the construction of more representative canons. Secondly, canons can be made to serve strong progressive political purposes, ones which are radically different from the current elitist, exclusionary, and hegemonic purposes they serve in the west and to which radical critics object so strongly.
A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of Literature in Africa Is Not What It Was (Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 40.) by Handel Kashope Wright