Failing Cosmopolitanism: Aborted Transnational Journeys in Novels by Monique Ilboudo, Sefi Atta and Aminata Sow Fall
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CitationToivanen Anna-Leena. (2016). Failing Cosmopolitanism: Aborted Transnational Journeys in Novels by Monique Ilboudo, Sefi Atta and Aminata Sow Fall. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 52 (3) , 359-371. 10.1080/17449855.2016.1140069.
This article adopts a critically attuned understanding of cosmopolitanism in its reading of Monique Ilboudo’s Le mal de peau, Sefi Atta’s Swallow and Aminata Sow Fall’s Douceurs du bercail. It focuses on the ways in which imaginings of cosmopolitan futures and ideals become compromised through the trope of aborted transnational journeys. All these works draw attention to the complexities of the postcolonial condition and such sequels to the colonial project as political instability of the postcolony, the unequal consequences of globalization and African immigration to Europe. With respect to the theme of transnational travel, it is noteworthy that the novels represent networks of mobility, such as airports and airplanes, as sites where the hindrances in the way of cosmopolitanism become realized. The trope of aborted transnational journeys also has gendered dimensions in the novels; it is often in the intimacy of the female body that the meanings of failing cosmopolitanism become inscribed.