How can Africans escape the control of the complex power relationships established during Colonization and successfully achieve self-development? More importantly, and the primary concern of this book, can African female characters ever hope to arrive at such individuation given the dual challenges of the power structures defined and enforced by European colonizers and the patriarchal structures that contort issues related to gender? Tracing Personal Expansion reads late 20th Century works by African female velists Buchi Emecheta, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Calixthe Beyala as modern Bildungsromane, vels of self-development, to reveal the dynamics, complexities, and challenges the characters and authors experience. By exploring the possibility of self-development in African female protagonists, this engrossing work augments existing feminist critiques that have analyzed the possibilities and potentials for the individuation of mostly Western, mostly European female characters.
Walter P. Collins, III is Assistant Professor of French and English at the University of South Carolina, Lancaster. He earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and a M.A. in French from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.