Reading List: Calayah

Key Words: postcolonial literature, narratives, black psychoanalysis

Secondary Sources:

COULIBALY, BOJANA, and Michael J. C. Echeruo. “(Re)Defining the Self through Trauma in West African Postcolonial Short Fiction.” The Critical Imagination in African Literature: Essays in Honor of Michael J. C. Echeruo, edited by Maik Nwosu and Obiwu, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 2015, pp. 94–109. JSTOR.

Counihan, Clare. “Reading the Figure of Woman in African Literature: Psychoanalysis, Difference, and Desire.” Research in African Literatures, vol. 38 no. 2, 2007, pp. 161-180. Project MUSE.

Henton, Jennifer E. “‘Sula’’s Joke on Psychoanalysis.” African American Review, vol. 45, no. 1/2, 2012, pp. 99–113. JSTOR.

Journal: Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS)


Since I was mostly interested narratives that have to do with the African diaspora, I wanted to incorporate reading materials that reflected that. Initially, I knew that I wanted my thesis to contain varying accounts from different backgrounds, but had key similarities and faults within their characters.  In terms of a few authors that I’m interested in Toni Morrison, Chika Unigwe, and Stacyann Chin. They’ve written works like Jazz, Night Dancer, and The Other Side of Paradise respectively. Each of these works have something to do with what I believe to be the core of what I want my thesis to be focused on. They all contain characters and social settings that depict the kind of narrative I want to focus on. That is to say, they each take place in an urban-type setting and contain female characters that undergo some sort of tribulation. I thought these works would be interesting to look into, mostly because I want my thesis to focus on exploring the different black narratives within memoir or fiction, and seeing how their complex identities can be examined through psychoanalytic theory. The texts listed above could help me do just that once I use the arguments presented in them to help further my own conclusions about the characters within the works I’m interested in. I want to look at how the characters are being defined within these works, either through their society or self-assertion. In doing so, and in using some of the articles mentioned earlier, I want to then analyze these characters through psychoanalytical theory by posing questions that would delve deeper into their presented qualities. For example, “Does their setting/social influence contribute to what seems to be signs of mental health issues?” “What kind of one-dimensional label is set upon the character by others that might try to encompass something much more complex?”. With these kinds of questions as a starting point, I want to try and delve deeper into the narratives of black authors and see how there can be more to the characters they depict than what is initially presented.