African Literature Still in the Dock: A Deconstructive Strategy for Eurocentric Hegemony

Mounir Jilani Ben Zid


Some academic circles still harbor the view that European literature remains the best that is written, with all subaltern literary work patronizingly assumed to be awkward, mediocre, or inferior. In particular, Eurocentric charges are levelled against African literature on the grounds that it is oral, mono-thematic, mono-structural, hybrid, and mimetic. This paper provides a vital awareness of the debilitating effects of this kind of Eurocentric hegemonic discourse, thus decolonizing African literature and counteracting European attacks on African literary norms and values. To this effect, the paper argues that a key way for African writers to correct the perpetual lopsided and distorted view of their work is to deconstruct the Western hegemonic discourse and reject the biased criteria, norms, and standards of the so-called great tradition.


African Literature; Euro-centrism; Hegemony; Hybridity; Deconstruction

Full Text:



Achebe, C. (1975). Morning yet on creation day. London: Heinemann.

Amouzou, A. (2007). African literature and cultural imperialism. Revue du CAMES – Nouvelle Série B, 8(1), 10-19.

Chinweizu, F., et al. (1985). Toward the decolonization of African literature. London: KPI Limited.

Creel, J. L. (1960). Folk tales of Liberia. Minneapolis: T. S. Denison and Company.

Diop, B. (1963). Leurres et Lueurs. Paris: Présence Africaine.

Feldmann, S. (1963). African myths and tales. New York: Dell.

Finnegan, R. (1970). Oral literature in Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Garuba, H. (2003). Explorations in animist materialism: Notes on reading/writing African literature, culture, and society. Public Culture, 15(2), 261-85.

Hunter, L. (2001). Literary value/cultural power: Verbal arts in the twenty-first century. Manchester (UK): Manchester University Press.

Killam, D., & Rowe, R. (2000). The companion to African literature. Oxford: James Currey/Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Larson, C. K. (1972). The emergence of African fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Malan, R. (2007). New poetry works: A workbook anthology. South Africa: New Africa Books.

Masolo, D,.A. (1976). Towards authentic African literature: Luo oral literature. Africa: Instituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, 31(1), 57-72.

Rosalind, M. (1994). A guidebook to environmental law. London: Sweet and Maxwell.

Roscoe, A. (1971). Mother is gold: A study in West African literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spivak, G. C. (1988). Can the subaltern speak? Marxism and the interpretation of culture. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Tutuola, A. (1993). The palm-wine drunkard. New York: Grove Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


Online Submission


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture