This is an open call for papers for a special issue of English Studies in Africa that will focus on African street literature. By this, the editors mean literature that emerges and is shaped by the specific factors determining everyday life in sub-Saharan Africa’s megacities, that is to say, literature that largely exists beyond the reach of the infrastructures of global literature and the academic establishment in the global north. Such scholarship about African literature is largely focused on the African novel, a genre and form that enjoys global circulation but which is less relevant in Africa itself where new and emergent forms of literary expression dominate cultural circuits and flows. A key premise behind this special issue is that these emergent forms, as cultural archives of everyday life in the African city, call for a literary mapping and analysis that they have not yet received. This is important since the intensification of social, political, economic, health and environmental precariousness, alongside uneven spurts of economic growth, rapid urbanisation, unprecedented access to technology and global connectivity, and a correlated surge in cultural and aesthetic expression, make African cities concentrated locations of vulnerable modernity. The African city and its writing are therefore vital sites to investigate the relationship between literary form and modernity at its most pressured and unpredictable.
We invite submission of abstracts for papers focusing on:
– formal developments in new African writing or performance poetry/drama;
– the reception and publishing of digital literature in and from Africa;
– alternative print forms (pamphlets, chap books and other ephemera);
– multi-modal literatures and/or literary adaptations; and,
– methodological questions concerning interpretation and selection of these ephemeral materials.