Whitelier than white? Inversions of the racial gaze in white Zimbabwean writing

Tagwirei, Cuthbeth (2015) Whitelier than white? Inversions of the racial gaze in white Zimbabwean writing.

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Official URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11408/1331

Abstract

This article looks at inscriptions of whiteness in selected white Zimbabwean narratives. Through a reading of Andrea Eames’ The Cry of the Go-Away Bird (2011), Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight (2003) and John Eppel’s Absent: the English Teacher (2009), the argument proposes that white Zimbabwean narratives situate whiteness within the context of change and marginality in Zimbabwe. The narratives deal with experiences of change and apprehensions of lived reality marked by the transfer of power from white minority to black majority rule. Our reading of The Cry of the Go-Away Bird examines how whiteness in the postcolonial Zimbabwean state is perceived through an outsider’s gaze, resulting in a kind of double consciousness within the (racialized, white) subject of the gaze. It is argued that the text depicts whites as torn between two unreconciled streams of possibility, reinforcing their sense of alienation. Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight represents whiteness as a thoroughly ephemeral experience. The meaning of whiteness is mediated through perpetual physical movement as whites travel from one point to another. Eppel’s Absent: the English Teacher affords a rethinking of whiteness as an unstable form of identity contingent on historical and political factors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Zimbabwean literature; whiteness; whiteness studies; racial gaze; whiteliness; double consciousness; race
Divisions: Universities > State Universities > Midlands State University
Depositing User: Mr. Edmore Sibanda
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 00:33
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 00:33
URI: http://researchdatabase.ac.zw/id/eprint/3376

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