Challenging Universalism: Chinua Achebe’s Re-worlding Africa

Monir A Choudhury


The present paper provides an overview of the nature and inherent assumption of universalism in literature and explicates the reasons why it and its usual signifiers have been incongruous with some of the most powerful literary movements such as Post-colonialism, Feminism, Marxism, and Post-modernism. These theorists argue that the term has a subjugating influence on the marginalized people and has carried an arbitrary significance. The paper has also highlighted the anxieties of the theorists regarding the pitfalls they might face if their own readings emerge as new metanarratives. The study has subsequently narrowed its focus on the oppositional narratives of major postcolonial critics demonstrating the reasons why it is an indispensable task to ‘re-world’ the postcolonial territories to map out a way off the self-denigration and the self-abasement of the postcolonial societies. The paper, most importantly, had tried to demonstrate how Chinua Achebe, drawing both from his critical and creative writings, attempted in (re)presenting Africa’s past and re-worlding Africa’s socio-cultural identities based on their latent traditional power and wisdom albeit in the international literary-critical scholarship. The key postcolonial issues, for instance, history, language, the role of women, otherness, multiculturalism and African dynamism in Achebe’s writings, have provided the undercurrent for this study.


Africa; Chinua Achebe; Decolonization; Post-colonialism; Re-worlding; Universalism

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