Pedagogical memory and the space of the postcolonial classroom: reading Dangarembga'sNervous conditions

Russell West-Pavlov
2012 Scrutiny2  
This article addresses issues of the mnemonic space of the literature classroom by interrogating a classic text of African women's writing, Tsitsi Dangaremnga's Nervous Conditions (1988) for the ways it speaks about education in 1960s and 1970s late-colonial Rhodesia. The article suggests that the novel reviews and critiques a number of memorial strategies that were crucial to the colonial educational system, thereby facilitating a reflexive application of the novel's concerns to the contexts
more » ... which it is often taught, that of today's postcolonial classrooms. The article seeks to place Dangarembga's novel in the context of its present moment, contemporary South Africa -that of the present critic's site of practice, both pedagogical and scholarly, and that of many of this article's readers. This present moment, in turn, is made up the many sites, successive and simultaneous, in which the novel's work of memory is being re-activated in the minds of students as readers and writers. Via a dialogue between the textual past and the pedagogical present, one which is often subject to critical amnesia, the article seeks to inaugurate a debate on the nature of pedagogical memory in the space of the postcolonial university or high school literature classroom.
doi:10.1080/18125441.2012.747758 fatcat:d6fj2fbob5cpvn3qwlwlf5raji