Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Ana Rueda

Abstract

This dissertation analyzes the strategies that Spanish and Hispano-African authors employ when writing about Africa in the contemporary novel (1990-2010). Focusing on the former Spanish colonial territories of Morocco, Western Sahara, and Equatorial Guinea, I analyze the post-colonial literary discourse about these regions. This study examines the new ways of conceptualizing Africa that depart from an Orientalist framework as advanced by the novelists Lorenzo Silva, Concha López Sarasúa, Ramón Mayrata, María Dueñas, Fernando Gamboa, Montserrat Abumalham, Javier Reverte, Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa, and Donato Ndongo. Their works are representative of a recent trend in Spanish letters that signals a literary focus on Africa and the African Other.

I examine these contemporary novels within their historical context, specifically engaging with the theoretical ideas of Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), to determine to what extent his analysis of Orientalist discourse still holds value for a study of the Spanish novel of thirty years later. In addition, the work of theorists such as Gil Anidjar, Emmanuel Levinas, James C. Scott, Ryszard Kapuściński, Georges Van den Abbeele and Chandra Mohanty contribute to the analyses of specific works. These theorists provide a theoretical framework for my thesis that contemporary Spanish authors are writing Africa in ways that undermine and circumvent the legacy of Orientalist discourse. I seek to highlight the innovative approaches that these authors are taking towards their literary engagement with Africa.

The imaginary that pertains to Africa has served an integral role in the history and creation of modern Spain, and it is illuminating to trace the influences that it continues to exert on Spanish writers. In the last thirty years, Spain’s relationship with Africa has dramatically changed through peace treaties, the independence of nations, migratory patterns, tourism, and in other substantial ways. Within this dissertation, I address these changes by focusing on literary representations of political engagement, gender issues, and travel to highlight how Africa is represented in light of these recent developments. As Spanish authors continue to engage with and to write about Africa, this study hopes to show that Orientalism is no longer a prevalent discourse in the contemporary Spanish novel.

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