“Reading German Colonial Ethnography to Write My Memoir”

Patrice Nganang, Stony Brook University

His intellectual work covers scholarly activities, writing and essayistic interventions. As a scholar, he investigates the diverse ramifications of violence, and has a particular interested in the “colonial archive” (pictures, books, instruments).

He has published and lectured extensively on this topic, and published on many topics related to postcolonial African literature, theatre and culture. Dr. Nganang notes that in his writing his “goal is to transform the city of my birth, Yaounde, into a library, to reconstruct the voices, smells, tastes and languages of people, animals and plants, in order to create a sense of that city in letters. For after all, one cannot return to the place of one’s birth.”

His essayistic interventions are an attempt to revive the poetry of the essay as a genre, a way through which to address the diverse issues that make it impossible for “me to sleep, or when I wake up, to look at myself in a mirror without a little shame.”

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(Photo: private)