This book is the first full-length study of the postsecular in African literatures. Religion, secularism, and the intricate negotiations between the two, codified in recent criticism as postsecularism, are fundamental conditions of globalized modernity. These concerns have been addressed in social science disciplines, but they have largely been neglected in postcolonial and literary studies. To remedy this oversight, this monograph draws together four areas of study: it brings debates in religious and postsecular studies to bear on African literatures and postcolonial studies. The focus of this interdisciplinary study is to understand how postsecular negotiations manifest in postcolonial African settings and how they are represented and registered in fiction. Through this focus, this book reveals how African and African-diasporic authors radically disrupt the epistemological and ontological modalities of globalized literary production, often characterized as secular, and imagine alternatives which incorporate the sacred into a postsecular world.
Introduction: The Sacred and Postsecular in African Fiction
Chapter One: Ritualization and the Limits of the Body in Chris Abani’s and Yvonne Vera’s Fiction
Chapter Two: The Sacred in the City: Pedestrian mapping in the work of Phaswane Mpe, Teju Cole and Ivan Vladislavić
Chapter Three: Cultivation, Alterity and Excess: The Sublime in J. M. Coetzee’s Boyhood and Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat
Chapter Four: Postsecular Poetics in World Literature