“too dangerous a thing”

I am arrested by this: That evening, I was hunched over, sweeping my apartment with a broom, the native kind, made from the raw, dry stems of palm leaves, tide together at the thick end of with a bamboo string. How is “native” supposed to be read? What is the function of “native” in this... Continue Reading →

“We are not terrible people”

I return to blogging about the Caine Prize late, later than I’d have liked. Just as I return to reading late, later than I’d have liked. I’m still reading Mark Rifkin’s When Did Indians Become Straight? and have added Katherine Luongo’s Witchcraft and Colonial Rule in Kenya, 1900-1955 and Iris Marion Young’s On Female Body... Continue Reading →

& with ordinariness

The blandness of my mind frightened me to the point of screaming. - “Whispering Trees” “Whispering Trees” builds as a series of repetitions: I did not wake up in heaven as I had anticipated (for I certainly had not thought I was bound for hell, even though I had not been a saint). Instead, I... Continue Reading →

splitting & misrecognition

The African been-to novel was a short-lived phenomenon. Here’s the quick and dirty: From the late 1950s through the early 1970s, African authors including Wole Soyinka, Tayeb Salih, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, and Yambo Ouologuem produced a sub-genre known as been-to novels. In their most paradigmatic form, been-to novels feature a brilliant male student who travels... Continue Reading →

abroadness: three geo-histories

The stuff of being abroad—whether as student, exile, worker, and other categories—is daily-making. In its most iconic form it has involved deaths and graduations and illness and weddings, all of which involve some form of emotional and financial contribution. It has been marked by a duty to care, a desire to affirm attachment through fulfilling... Continue Reading →

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