Postcolonial Performatives of Victimization
That remains unexplained by Achille Mbembe’s diagnostic of postcolonial victimization is the paradigm’s reliance on a continuous dialectic of interpellation and resistance. How has the language of victimization continued to invade Africa? How has the meaning of the victim signifier changed with translation and adaptation? How have quotidian and artistic acts resisted this victim paradigm? To address such unanswered questions as these, I propose that Mbembe’s project (“African Modes of Self-Writing,” Public Culture 14 [winter 2002]: 239–73) be taken a step beyond the essay’s critiques of recognition and simulacrum among colonizers and colonized, and of conceptions of victim subjectivity based on the fateful epistemology of witchcraft.
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