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Relocating Agency: Modernity and African Letters. Olakunle George. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2003. xx+ 227 pp. ISBN 0-7914-5542-4.

Suzanne Gauch


In Relocating Agency, Olakunle George presents an elegantly written, meticulously argued, and innovative study of what he terms the “agency-in-motion” of African letters. Framed as a reply to the issue of subjectivity that continues to vex the work of such postcolonial theorists as Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak, as well as poststructuralist theory in general, George’s study proposes that, “[…] positive agency can result from discursive or political acts that are otherwise conceptually limited” (x). Thus implicitly challenging the hegemony of poststructuralist postcolonial theory, George analyzes the particular instance of African letters from the period spanning approximately from the late 1950s to the early 1980s in order to test the conclusions of this Anglo-American theory. As a result of its insistence on the dialectical nature of the relationship between them, George’s unique study transforms our understanding of both the limitations and possibilities of Anglo-American theory and African letters.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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