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Title: The aesthetics of tyranny : African dictatorships and the work of criticism
Author: Bishop, Cécile
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 831X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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Proceeding through a series of case studies centred on the representation of African dictatorships, this work re-examines the relationship between the political and the aesthetic in current approaches to postcolonial themes. The texts analysed are in French and in English, and range across literature, film and social science. Following a number of recent interventions in the field of postcolonial criticism which have placed renewed emphasis on the aesthetic and the literary, this thesis questions the nature of the political resistance that critics sometimes ascribe to certain aesthetic practices. However, contrary to recent analyses which have construed the future of postcolonial criticism as an alternative between a ‘political turn’ and an ‘aesthetic turn’ (for example Bongie 2008 & 2010), my thesis contests the notion that criticism can only be legitimized by either an evaluative conception of aesthetics or a commitment to progressive politics. Instead, this work argues for a form of criticism that would place the complexity of aesthetic experiences at the heart of its investigations, and shows how representations of African dictatorships offer a privileged opportunity to understand the mutual embeddedness of the political and the aesthetic. In this way, I hope both to intervene in current methodological debates animating postcolonial studies and other forms of politicized criticism, and to offer new insights into a major topic in post-independence African literature and in representations of Africa more generally.
Supervisor: Harrison, Nicholas Davenport Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available