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Friday, 13 November 2020 12:50

Unmasking the Complementarity of History, Literature and Culture in Lives of Citizens: New Dynamics and Imperatives of Interdisciplinarity

Written by Prof. Maurice N Amutabi,
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Prof. Maurice N Amutabi,

Vice-Chancellor, Lukenya University

Centre for Democracy, Research and Development (CEDRED),

Nairobi, Kenya

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Space, agency and voice are important in history and literature and provide some of the best representations of culture. In this article, I seek to demonstrate that History and Literature have been bedfellows as disciplines and often complement each other in representation of facts and fiction. They are often used as ardent vehicles and vessels of presenting and preserving culture. The works of Chinua Achebe have been used to teach the history of the Igbo people of Nigeria. The world has gained a lot of knowledge about the history of the Kikuyu and Mau Mau from reading novels of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Many scholars have admitted that they learned a lot about mining in South Africa through the rendering of the fiction of Peter Abrahams in his book Mine Boy. Scholars such as Homi Bhabha and Ngugi wa Thiong’o have used historical narratives to augment their literary works while others such as Ifi Amadiume and Colin Bundy have used creative works to reenact historical scenes from the past, thereby affirming the complementarity of the two disciplines. The postmodern and post-colonial presentation provides a lot of possibilities and prisms of reenacting many scenes and scenarios which this paper will be dealing with. The notion of silences and the need of vocalization of voices using feminist, gender and other dimensions is important and to understand marginalization and silencing in order to seek liberation and mainstreaming. How do these new approaches transform how we look at space, agency and voice? What are some of the tensions that we encounter in these revisionist projects? In what ways do we need to deconstruct domination narratives and insert our stories in order to change the meta-narrative? These are some of the questions that this paper will address.

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