Africana Studies Dissertation Discussion - Christopher Ian Foster

MAR 21, 2014 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


5409: DSC Meeting Rm


March 21, 2014: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM





Banjo's Migritude: Claude McKay and the Politics of Movement

Christopher Ian Foster
Ph.D. Program in English

French literary theorist Jacques Chevrier argues that immigration is at the heart of contemporary African literature. He defines this new corpus of African literature that takes migration as its object, “migritude.” My dissertation is a study of migritude literature and the issues fundamental to it—colonialism, racism, anti-immigration laws, borders, globalization, exile, diaspora. But I argue that migritude authors are always already in conversation with earlier generations of writers, most obviously N├ęgritude and the black radical tradition. Somali writer Nadifa Mohamed, for example, not only cites Claude McKay’s Banjo in her acknowledgements but strategically weaves the wandering Banjo and his black orchestra into her own twenty-first century migritude novel. In this introductory chapter I analyze McKay’s “story without a plot” as a migrant narrative embodying a pan-African politics of movement so emblematic of contemporary African migritude narratives.