LuKA - Literaturen und Kunst Afrikas, Band 1


Marion Pape

Gender Palava


Nigerian Women Writing War

In times of armed conflict or so goes one of the myths of war women suffer silently. In reality, women often refuse to be mere victims. Instead, some take up arms themselves, while others violate legal, social and moral codes in order to survive. In doing so, they occupy spaces and conquer new, previously inaccessible vantage points. Afterwards, they have many stories to tell. The Nigerian Civil War (1967-70) claimed the lives of more than a million people, mostly civilians, in the enclave of Biafra and became one of the most prevalent themes of Nigerian literature its most famous addition in recent years being the novel Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. Yet, apart from very few exceptions women's input into civil war literature has been widely ignored. 

In her study, Marion Pape questions the reasons for this neglect. Not only do women writers disturb established binaries such as the "peaceful woman" and the "combatant man", but they also represent the war as "wo/man palava". Borrowing this term from Chikwenye Ogunyemi's eponymous study, Pape interrelates it with Judith Butler's "gender trouble" and explores the "sexual disorder" brought about by conditions of war. Thus, her study also represents an important addition to the discourse on gender and war. With Gender Palava Nigerian Women Writing War, Pape comprehensively defines and critically analyses the body of Nigerian Civil War literature by women, providing the first complete overview of this neglected corpus.


ISBN 978-3-86821-282-2, 196 S., kt., 23,50 (2011)


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