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Another SCRAL (Somewhat Coherent Research About Literature) begins Friday 11/9!
SCRAL is a Department of English graduate student lecture series, which is held every Friday from 2-3 p.m. After the presentation -- it's happy hour time!
Please join us this week for...
"The Representation of the Self in the Collective Consciousness and Lessons for Nation Building: A Comparative Study of the Autobiographies of Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela" presented by Aaron Agorsor
Abstract: This presentation seeks to find out how Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela represent the 'self' in their autobiographies in a setting which is communal in nature. What were the consequences of their decision to go beyond the limits that society places on them? What lessons can we draw for nation building?
Fulbrook and Halbwachs argue that memory does not take place in a vacuum but under specific historical circumstances. However, Gusdorf (1956) argues that because the concept of the self is alien to the African who is communal, autobiography is alien to the African. The researcher's argument in this paper is to offer fresh insights and knowledge on African autobiographical writings and to argue that per the concept of communalism as proposed by Mbiti, Menkiti and Gyekye, which is the theoretical framework to augment Fulbrook and Halbwachs' argument, the writing of autobiography should rather be the preserve of the African because memory thrives on shared experiences.
This presentation, therefore, contributes to a deeper appreciation of identity construction. This is because by the communal nature of the African, he or she has a repertoire of shared experiences. Finally, it also reveals the fact that the communal nature of the African does not place limits on individual autonomy but rather reinforces it.
A Q&A will follow this lecture.