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Disputes with Vehemence: Historical Transition and Violent Disagreements in Tragedy from the Greeks to Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison

Ato Quayson, Stanford University

Thu, 4/11 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 144 Louis A. Simpson Building

Program in African Studies, PIIRS

The lecture will proffer a theory of postcolonial tragedy drawing specifically on the nature of violent disagreements in the history of tragedy and the relationship of these to different forms of historical transition. It will shed light on colonial history’s relationship to the fraught individual processes of self-accounting and on the ambiguation of attitudes to individual and collective pasts as well as to the problematic status of feelings and affects in relation to these. It will also be argued further that the relation between the two domains of history and affect can serve as model for understanding of postcolonial tragedies’ characterological types and their socio-political conditions. The lecture will draw on examples from a wide range of traditions and cultures but will settle on the works of Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison to anchor the main terms of the argument.

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