Interkulturalitat und Afrikabilder in der zeitgenossischen Jugendliteratur

Intercultural aspects and the image of Africa in contemporary German youth Literature

Okoko, Lorna Ayiemba (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Globalization and the inherent shrinking of geographical boarders have rendered modern societies progressively culturally heterogeneous spaces. Increased encounters between people from different cultures have thus become a normal occurrence. Germany is in no way an exception to this socio-cultural phenomenon and has witnessed an emergence of multi-cultural societies, leading to concerted efforts in developing intercultural competence in all spheres of influence. Literature plays a pivotal role in the representation and transfer of culturally determined imaginations and perceptions of the “other”. This role is further emphasized in the case of children’s and youth literature, which has an imminent pedagogical function. For a long time, research in children’s and youth literature has received very little attention as an integral part of literary studies; this is observed both in English and in German literature, though the pace of development differs slightly (Hunt 1999; Weinkauff and Glasenapp 2010; Ewers 2000). In Germany, historical development of children’s and youth literature as an autonomous area of literature and field of study was influenced by societal values and attitudes as well as perceptions of childhood. This has continued to be the case, though recent research indicates a growing emphasis on children’s literature as a tool to develop literacy as well as an appreciation of the aesthetic value of literature. A third component is the intercultural aspect it is able to offer. Impelled by the paucity of systematic analyses of the representation of Africa in German children’s and youth literature, this dissertation sets out to offer a critical appraisal of intercultural aspects and the image of Africa in contemporary German youth literature. A corpus of literary works has been selected for this purpose. The central thesis of the study is that these literary works are involved in a sustained debate of questioning and contesting numerous representations of Africa and Africans. Given the fact that the study touches on several overarching issues, it draws from diverse theoretical perspectives that include intercultural theories on perceptions of the cultural “other” and “imagology” as well as postcolonial studies, with reflections on the pedagogical nature of youth literature. The study considers intercultural and postcolonial theories as conceptualized by Hofmann (2003; 2010), Mecklenburg (2003, 2006; 2008), Gutjahr (2002; 2010) and Göttsche (2003; 2010; 2011; 2012) as well as considerations on imagology as conceptualized by O’Sullivan (1989; 2000) and Beller (2007). In its exploration of the representation of Africa and Africans, this dissertation shows how literary works make use of diverse artistic, stylistic and narratological strategies and devices as possible ways of presenting and rethinking long-held perceptions about Africa. The present study proposes a reading and an appraisal of the corpus of literary texts as important discursive tools that allow for the expansion of self-conception and definition of otherness and the relationship to this otherness, thus contributing to increased intercultural awareness and competence among young readers.

AFRIKKANSE OPSOMMING: Globalisering en die gepaardgaande krimping van geografiese grense het moderne samelewings algaande omskep in kultureel heterogene ruimtes. Sodoende het toenemende ontmoetings tussen mense van verskillende kulture ʼn normale gebeurtenis geword. Duitsland, geen uitsondering op hierdie sosiokulturele verskynsel nie, was getuie tot die totstandkoming van multikulturele samelewings en dit het gelei tot doelgerigte pogings om interkulturele vaardigheid in alle invloedsfere te ontwikkel. Letterkunde speel ʼn deurslaggewende rol in die verteenwoordiging en oordrag van kultureel bepaalde verbeeldings en persepsies van die “ander”. Hierdie rol word verder beklemtoon in die geval van kinder- of jeugliteratuur, wat ʼn belangrike pedagogiese funksie het. Vir ʼn lang tyd het navorsing in kinder- en jeugliteratuur baie min aandag geniet as ʼn integrale deel van literêre navorsing en dit kan in Engelse sowel as Duitse letterkunde opgemerk word, hoewel die pas van ontwikkeling effens verskil (Hunt 1999; Weinkauff en Glasenapp 2010; Ewers 2000). In Duitsland is die historiese ontwikkeling van kinder- en jeugliteratuur as ʼn outonome veld van letterkunde en van navorsing beïnvloed deur die samelewing se waardes en houdings sowel as persepsies van kindwees. Dit word steeds voorgesit hoewel onlangse navorsing toon dat daar groter klem geplaas word op kinderliteratuur as ʼn manier om geletterdheid asook ʼn waardering vir die estetiese waarde van letterkunde te ontwikkel. ʼn Derde komponent is die interkulturele aspek wat dit kan bied. Aangespoor deur die gebrek aan sistematiese analises van die uitbeelding van Afrika in Duitse kinder- en jeugliteratuur, beoog hierdie proefskrif om ʼn kritiese waardering te bied van interkulturele aspekte en die beeld van Afrika in kontemporêre Duitse jeugliteratuur. ʼn Korpus van literêre werke is geselekteer vir hierdie doel. Die sentrale hipotese van die navorsing is dat hierdie literêre werke betrokke is, dikwels ten spyte van hulself, in ʼn volgehoue debat oor die bevraagtekening en betwissing van verskeie uitbeeldings van Afrika en Afrikane. Die studie raak verskeie oorkoepelende kwessies aan en steun daarom op diverse teoretiese perspektiewe wat interkulturele teorieë oor persepsies van die kulturele “ander” en “beeldstudies” insluit, sowel as postkoloniale studies en beskouings van die pedagogiese aard van jeugliteratuur. Interkulturele en postkoloniale teorieë soos voorgestel deur Hofmann (2003; 2010), Mecklenburg (2003; 2006; 2008), Gutjahr (2002; 2010) en Göttsche (2003;2010; 2011; 2012) asook oorwegings oor “beeldstudies” soos voorgestel deur O’Sullivan (1989; 2000) en Beller (2007) sal in aanmerking geneem word. In die ondersoek na die uitbeelding van Afrika en Afrikane wys hierdie dissertasie hoe literêre werke gebruik maak van diverse artistieke, stilistiese en narratologiese strategieë en middele as moontlike maniere om tradisionele persepsies oor Afrika voor te stel en te heroorweeg. Hierdie studie stel ʼn lees en waardering van die korpus van literêre tekste voor as belangrike diskursiewe instrumente wat ruimte laat vir die uitbouing van selfbeskouing en definisie van andersheid en die verhouding tot hierdie andersheid, om sodoende ʼn bydrae te maak tot die verhoogde kulturele bewustheid en vaardigheid onder jong lesers.

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