Negotiating Hybrid Identities in African Diasporic Literature
Workshop with Master Students of the English Seminar on Saturday 16.2., 9-11h
“Why do people have the dream of going to Europe and America?” asked a participant. “Because they don’t have access to their own resources, and there is still a considerable gap between the Global North and the Global South,” he answered.
The workshop “Breaking the Silence,” organized by a number of graduate students of the English Seminar, University of Freiburg, started with essential questions as such. Discussing the role of silence in the construction of hybrid identities in the novels Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was the central objective of the workshop. However, “Breaking the Silence” provided an opportunity for discussing not only the subject of hybrid identity in these novels, but also a variety of other topics close to the participants’ hearts. Walking through the workshop room, one could read the passages and quotes on the boards that the organizers had prepared. The interactive setting of the workshop sparked off a lively debate on participants’ own personal encounters with hardships as well as liberties they have experienced, whether as immigrants or as people with multiple backgrounds.
At the end, the main takeaway of “Breaking the Silence,” rather than an ultimate answer, was an invitation to think further: With its concern being primarily that of power dynamics, to what extent does the term ‘hybridity’ do justice to complexities of the phenomenon it seeks to describe? Could we find a better alternative? And last but not least: Aren’t we all, living in an age of globalism, in one way or another, hybrid beings?
You can find some of the discussed literature here at the Jos Fritz book store.