The Role of Language, Realism and Resistance in the Construction of African Postcolonial Female Authorial Identities
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  • Naziha Hamidouche

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis examines postcolonial African female authorial identity construction in eight novels by Mariama Bâ, Assia Djebar, Fatou Diome and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Dwelling upon the transcultural, transnational and multilingual postures embraced by three Francophone and one Anglophone writers, it formulates the hypothesis that postcolonial African female authors tend to develop similar writing strategies, including translanguaging, realism and the autobiographical discourse. These strategies allow authors to resist oppression and subvert power relations ranging from patriarchal hegemonies, Eurocentrism, fémi-imperialism and universalism. The case study authors have been selected for being prolific and having created bestsellers. Although they belong to different generations, write in different languages, and participate in different migration patterns, a comparative analysis of their works reveals a similar female postcolonial authorial anti-hegemonic commitment, which seems to transcend national and linguistic borders. Looking at two novels by each writer, this study adopts both socio-historical and textual analysis approaches, which take into account the authors’ background histories, non-fictional declarations and selected novels. Female authorial identity has been investigated in this thesis for several reasons. First, the authors’ adoption of English and French as their languages of writing has been scrutinised by critics and questioned as a non-African literary choice in their countries of origin. Second, their experience of living in more than one country indicates that their authorial identities are torn between their native countries and their adopted ones. By drawing on a range of theories by Frantz Fanon, Philippe Lejeune, Homi Bhabha, Debra Kelly, Philippe Hamon, and Françoise Vergès, this study elaborates the concept of hybrid resistance, articulating the situation of postcolonial African authorship and encapsulating the major strategies of resistance adopted by my case study writers, which contribute to the formation of their authorial identity. The examination of the corpus is divided into three parts: Part One focuses on the theoretical and socio-historical context of the authors, Part Two investigates the main stylistic techniques espoused by the writers and Part Three explores the hybrid resistance, which represents a major finding of the study as the thesis concludes that postcolonial African authorships are constructed at the intersection of Western and non-Western techniques of writing and geographical and linguistic backgrounds to resist multiple, often intertwined sources of domination.
Date of Award29 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsAlgerian Government
SupervisorChristina Horvath (Supervisor) & Adalgisa Giorgio (Supervisor)

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