Identifier

etd-06082011-054344

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theatre

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The second half of the nineteenth century played a determining role in the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres of Africa. The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 witnessed European interests bargaining over the territories of Africa and arbitrarily dividing much of the continent into different countries under European control. This historical moment may be regarded as the height of Western influence over Africa, though it only continued the colonial tradition of viewing Africa as a land without culture, theatre, literature, or history (prior to the advent of the white man). The legacy of this outlook has placed African intellectuals and literary artists on the defensive. The denigration of Africa has challenged writers to reassess African culture and to champion Africa’s history and literature. This study examines how three Chadian playwrights (notably, Danaï, Naïndouba, and Kodbaye) have through their literary craftsmanship challenged the colonial legacy and have invited a reconsideration and re-imagination of not only Chad but Africa as a whole. The plays of these writers criticize the Western-backed ruling class and attempt to restore dignity to the Chadian citizen. Unlike an earlier generation of African writers, who wished to go back to a romanticized past, these writers contest traditional outlooks that stand in the way of progress and modern viewpoints. They espouse a new vision of Chad, one that involves a hybrid notion of past, present, and future, an entity that may blend the better aspects of European and African politics and culture. While these writers give a strong critique of pro-French influence and the corruption that has become endemic to local governments, they point the way to a hopeful future. Their plays express a new self-consciousness; they are a shout of affirmation. Most importantly, these playwrights envision a political and social reality for a new Chad, a country to be proudly called home.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wade, Les

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