In Search of the Afropolitan explores human encounters and moments that speak to the challenges of being a 21st century African of the world. Against the background of an engaging evaluation of the heated debate on Afropolitanism and what constitutes an Afropolitan, the authors turn to literature and its intrinsic capacity for unfolding the human figure of the African as inherently complex and multidimensional. Through a detailed probing of the Afropolitan in literary narratives, the book enters into conversations about self-understanding and the signification of Africa in the contexts of global mobility.
The book conceives of Afropolitanism as a flexible space of inquiry that curbs the inclination to set the definition of the ‘ism’ in stone. Instead, it attempts to distil, through close-up character analyses, a multifarious sense of what it means to be Afropolitan in the contemporary moment. In that sense, the encounters we come across in the literary narratives produce unexpected ontological negotiations on what it means to be African in the world today. As a special feature of In Search of the Afropolitan, the authors’ conversations with prominent writers, thinkers, and critics provide a lively context for the ongoing debate on Afropolitanism and the Afropolitan.
Acknowledgements / Opening: In Search of the Afropolitan / 1. Afropolitanism: A Contested Field and its Trajectories / The Authors in Conversation with Simon Gikandi / 2. The Vexed Question of Mobility / 3. Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Unhinging of Home and Belonging / 4. ‘Africans of the World’ and the Politics of (Re-)Connection / The Authors in Conversation with Kwame Anthony Appiah, Minna Salami, Emma Dabiri, and Asta Busingye Lydersen / The Authors in Conversation with Sefi Atta, Chika Unigwe, and Brian Chikwava / 5. Sharing and Caring: Storytelling and Afropolitan Communities / 6. A Complex Weave: ‘Race,’ Gender, and Afropolitan Love / 7. Less-Fortunate Afropolitans, ‘Lapsed Africans,’ and Class Conundrums / A Statement by Taiye Selasi / Endnotes: Afropolitan Narratives, Tropes, and Styles / References / Index
In this formally and intellectually inventive collection, Knudsen and Rahbek gather together some of the leading voices associated with Afropolitanism. Their interviews with theorists as well as literary practitioners, and their incisive analyses of literary texts, map a generative “conversational space” that opens new possibilities for Afropolitanism’s futures. Theirs is an important and original intervention.
A marvellous book, intellectually rich and resourceful. In approaching Afropolitanism as a 'space of critical enquiry', the authors engage thoroughly with today's challenges of living across cultures and continents. The blend of theoretical enquiry, literary criticism and scholarly interviews inaugurates perfectly their sense of Afropolitanism as an opportunity for interrogative, innovative dialogue about African futurity in local and global frames.
This book is an inspiring, rich introduction to current debates on the notions of the Afropolitan and Afropolitanism. With sophisticated analyses of the figure of the Afropolitan in contemporary African diaspora literature, as well as interviews with creative writers and key scholars, the authors resist easy categorizations, providing valuable tools for researchers and students in the multidisciplinary field of African Diaspora Studies.
Eva Rask Knudsen is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Global Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
Ulla Rahbek is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Global Studies at the University of Copenhagen.