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Dr Edgar Nabutanyi

Home country: Uganda

PANGeA partner: Makerere University

Year of enrolment: 2010

Graduation date: March 2013

Department:  English

Supervisor: Prof Grace Musila

Co-Supervisor: Prof Annie Gagiano


Dissertation title: Representations of Troubled Childhoods in Selected Post-1990 African Fiction in English

Abstract: The study explores representations of troubled childhoods in post-1990 African narratives. Defining troubled childhoods as the experiences of children exposed to different forms of violations including physical, psychological, sexual and emotional abuse, the study reflects on depictions of such experiences in a selection of contemporary African fictional texts in English. The study's central thesis is that, while particular authors 'deployment of affective writing techniques offers implicit analysis of troubled childhoods, the knowledge about this reality that such literary texts produce and place in the public sphere resonates with readers because of the narrative textures that both make knowledge concerning such childhoods accessible and create a sense of the urgent plight of such children. They render troubled childhoods grieve able. The study delineates three attributes of the selected texts that explain why such fictions can be considered significant from both social and aesthetic perspectives: namely, their foregrounding of intertwined vectors of violation and/or vulnerability; their skilful use of multi-layered narrative voices and their creation of specific posttraumatic damage and survival tropes. The four main thesis chapters are organised thematically rather than conceptually or theoretically, because representations of troubled childhoods are contextually and experientially entangled. Using Maria Pia Lara's notion of ―illocutionary force‖ and specific aspects of trauma and affect theory, the study focuses centrally on how the units of narration construct persuasive and convincing depictions of troubled childhoods while using fiction to convene platforms for reflection on the phenomena of child victims of war violence, abusive parenting, sexual predation and sexual violation.

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