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The Ivy Bookshop and Bird in Hand present the latest installment of Humanities in the Village featuring Jeanne-Marie Jackson, author of The African Novel of Ideas. Jeanne-Marie will be in conversation with William Egginton, Decker Professor in the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University and Ato Quayson, Jean G. And Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, Stanford University.
The African Novel of Ideas focuses on the role of the philosophical novel and the place of philosophy more broadly in the intellectual life of the African continent, from the early twentieth century to today. Examining works from the Gold Coast, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and tracing how such writers as J. E.Casely Hayford, Imraan Coovadia, Tendai Huchu, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Stanlake Samkange reconcile deep contemplation with their social situations, Jeanne-Marie Jackson offers a new way of reading and understanding African literature. Jackson begins with Fante anticolonial worldliness in prenationalist Ghana, moves through efforts to systematize Shona philosophy in 1970s Zimbabwe, looks at the Ugandan novel Kintu as a treatise on pluralistic rationality, and arrives at the treatment of “philosophical suicide” by current southern African writers. As Jackson charts philosophy’s evolution from a dominant to marginal presence in African literary discourse across the past hundred years, she assesses the push and pull of subjective experience and abstract thought. The first major transnational exploration of African literature in conversation with philosophy, The African Novel of Ideas redefines the place of the African experience within literary history.
Jeanne-Marie Jackson is an associate professor of English at Johns Hopkins, and lives in Baltimore City with her husband and son. In addition to The African Novel of Ideas, she is the author of South African Literature’s Russian Soul (2015). Her scholarly work focuses on questions of scale, comparative method, and literature and philosophy across numerous African intellectual traditions, and she also writes for public-facing venues including n+1, Public Books, Africa Is a Country, and the New Left Review.
TIME & DATE
Monday, January 25, 2021 - 6:30pm