Research in African Literatures
This essay examines the gendering of the crime novel in an African context. Specifically, it proposes that Malian Author Aida Diallo's novel Kouty, memoire de sang uses the gendered body to critique the West's delight in pornographies of sub-Saharan African violence while challenging the masculinist tendencies of African male authors of crime fiction. Most powerfully, the protagonist abides by and disturbs the continuity between gender and genre. By introducing recognizable tropes from the romance novel, Diallo productively challenges the persistent hegemonic strains residing latently within this popular literary tradition. In so doing, she finally, and this through a strategic manipulation and blending of popular forms proposes an inaugural African writing free to represent increasingly global, and yet resolutely local subjectivities.
This article was published as Pim Higginson, “Tortured Bodies, Loved Bodies: Gendering African Popular Fiction,” Research in African Literatures, 39, no. 4 (2008): 133-146. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For educational re-use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit Indiana University Press' permissions page.
Higginson, Pim. “Tortured Bodies, Loved Bodies: Gendering African Popular Fiction.” Research in African Literatures, 39, no. 4 (2008): 133-146.