Ecology, Humanity, and Francophone Cultural Expressions
Imprint: Ohio University Press
324 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: May 2023
- Published: May 2023
- Published: May 2023
An exploration of Francophone African literary imaginations and expressions through the lens of Afrofuturism
Generally attributed to the Western imagination, science fiction is a literary genre that has expressed projected technological progress since the Industrial Revolution. However, certain fantastical elements in African literary expressions lend themselves to science fiction interpretations, both utopian and dystopian. When the concept of science is divorced from its Western, rationalist, materialist, positivist underpinnings, science fiction represents a broad imaginative space that supersedes the limits of this world. Whether it be on the moon, under the sea, or elsewhere within the imaginative universe, Afrofuturist readings of select films, novels, short stories, plays, and poems reveal a similarly emancipatory African future that is firmly rooted in its own cultural mythologies, cosmologies, and philosophies.
Isaac Joslin identifies the contours and modalities of a speculative, futurist science fiction rooted in the sociocultural and geopolitical context of continental African imaginaries. Constructing an arc that begins with gender identity and cultural plurality as the bases for an inherently multicultural society, this project traces the essential role of language and narrativity in processing traumas that stem from the violence of colonial and neocolonial interventions in African societies.
Joslin then outlines the influential role of discursive media that construct divisions and create illusions about societal success, belonging, and exclusion, while also identifying alternative critical existential mythologies that promote commonality and social solidarity. The trajectory proceeds with a critical analysis of the role of education in affirming collective identity in the era of globalization; the book also assesses the market-driven violence that undermines efforts to instill and promote cultural and social autonomy.
Last, this work proposes an egalitarian and ecological ethos of communal engagement with and respect for the diversity of the human and natural worlds.
Introduction: Africanfuturism, Development, and Humanities
1. Afrofuturist Ecolinguistics: Redefining the “Science” of Science Fiction
2. Birthing the Future: Métissage and Cultural Hybridity in Francophone African Women’s Writing
3. Child Soldiers: Reinscribing the Human in a Culture of Perpetual War
4. Alienation, Estrangement, and Dreams of Departure: Emigration and the Politics of Global Inequality in (and out of) Francophone Africa
5. “We Don’t Need No Education” Alternative Pedagogies and Epistemologies in Bassek Ba Kobhio’s Sango Malo (1990) and Le Silence de la forêt (2003)
6. Paradis Artificiels: The Lottery of Global Economies in Djibril Diop Mambety’s Le Franc, Imunga Ivanga’s Dôlè, and Fadika Kramo-Lanciné’s Wariko
7. Arguing against the Shame of the State: Sony Labou Tansi’s Ecocritical Womanism and Gaiacene Planetarity
Conclusion: Toward an Afrofuturist Ecohumanist Philosophy of Experience
“A sophisticated and compelling investigation of Afrofuturism as an alternative discourse for imagining (and potentially building) a fairer world. Isaac Vincent Joslin offers incisive theoretical observations and deep explorations of numerous African francophone texts, amounting to a valuable contribution to global literary and cinematic scholarship.”
“A remarkable contribution to African literary and cultural studies.”
“Written in an accessible and elegant style, [this] book is a veritable tour de force. In this highly original, innovative, and thought-provoking exploration of speculative, futurist science fiction in the Francophone tradition, Isaac Vincent Joslin demonstrates the unprecedented nature of the interconnected crises facing global society in a time of tremendous uncertainty.”
“A refreshing scrutiny of African cultural productions, Isaac Vincent Joslin’s book raises key questions concerning the politics of aesthetics. The study explores both male and female authors, as well as both literature and cinema, which is what makes the project strong and fascinating. Because it proposes groundbreaking perspectives on ‘humanities and the future of Africa,’ this is a work for the pedagogy of African literatures and the indispensable discussion of humanism and futurism in African contexts.”
A seminal and groundbreaking study [and] a unique and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library collections. — Midwest Book Review