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Travel Writing and Representation: Africa in William J. Hemminger’s African Son

Journal: Athens Journal of Philology (Vol.1, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 197-208

Keywords : ;

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This article examines the relationship between travel writing and representation, a key concept in postcolonial discourse, grounded in the binary opposition self/other. It argues that unlike his Western counterparts, Hemminger, in African Son, associates Africa with enlightenment, humility and self-discovery. This land is therefore a challenge not only to the racially prejudiced Westerner but also to the African native, who approaches it with a colonialist mindset. This thus drives to the claim that African Son, not only implements a new vision of Africa? which is more realistic than that presented by some Western and African colonialists, politicians, and explorers? but it also gives a new insight into the postcolonial binary self/other. It shows that travel writing can depart from the original role assigned to it by former Western explorers and imperialists. Today, at a time when African immigrants confront racism in Western countries and some Western immigrants are kidnapped and slain by radical groups in Africa, Hemminger’s book stands as a counter discourse and counter reaction to racism and otherness, and thus warns against an unbridled resurgence of nationalism and racial essentialism.

Last modified: 2015-07-01 19:53:07