Why is the nation in a post-colonial world so often seen as a motherland? This study explores the relationship between gender icons and foundational fictions of the nation in different post-colonial spaces. The author's work on the intersections between independence, nationalism and gender has already proved canonical in the field. This book combines her keynote essays on the mother figure and the post-colonial nation with new work on male autobiography, ‘daughter’ writers, the colonial body, the trauma of the post-colony and the nation in a transnational context. Focusing on Africa as well as South Asia, and sexuality as well as gender, the author offers close readings of writers ranging from Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Nelson Mandela to Arundhati Roy and Yvonne Vera, shaping these into a critical engagement with theorists of the nation such as Fredric Jameson and Partha Chatterjee. Moving beyond cynical deconstructions of the post-colony, the book mounts a reassessment of the post-colonial nation as a site of potential empowerment, as a ‘paradoxical refuge’ in a globalised world. It acts on its own impassioned argument that post-colonial and nation-state studies address substantively issues hitherto raised chiefly within international feminism.
the male vampire story tends to involve violent seduction, the
female vampire tradition is rooted in an intimacy and identiﬁcation
between women that is often associated with the relationship between
mother and daughter; the female vampire is often portrayed as a melancholic motherﬁgure. This is exempliﬁed in a founding text of female vampirism, Sheridan Le Fanu’s nineteenth-century novella, Carmilla, in which
the vampiric Carmilla is likened to the dead mother of the narrator, Laura.9
Although it is Laura’s mother who is dead, it is Carmilla who seems melancholic
‘nobody wants the money back’) is thwarted because
Wilberforce has become the motherfigure, acting as a conduit for the
family-unit model of ideological indoctrination. Reading her as a motherfigure requires a psychoanalytical interpretation of the film, in part
inspired by its source material in a dream by writer William Rose.
Called ‘Mum’ by most characters
provides the central axis for the novel’s entire second half develops between the
child of midnight, the hyper-symbolic Saleem – Hindu and Muslim, highborn
yet plebian – and ‘the Widow’ of India, the Indira Gandhi surrogate. This
Cruella De Vil monster, who signiﬁcantly never appears in person, is determined to impose restraint upon India’s ‘teeming’ through her rapacious agent
and Saleem’s rival, the castrator Shiva. Rushdie thus inﬂates and intentionally
distorts the traditional equation of motherﬁgure and nation, encapsulated in
the novelist Bankim
If the motherﬁgure in Beur’s story is portrayed as cruelly conventional towards
her daughters in her adherence to Arabic norms, she is something of a cypher in
Ils disent que je suis une beurette – which can be interpreted as reﬂecting her submissiveness within the family unit – while in Georgette!, as in all the works, the
mother’s preference is clearly for her male children.
So pronounced is that bi-cultural identity in Georgette! that Michèle Bacholle in
Un passé contraignant: double bind et transculturation (Amsterdam and Atlanta
is the appearance of Marianne, unmistakably in the role of
glamorous motherfigure, who arrives to show off her dancing shoes to
this child for a moment, to exchange endearments and to bestow a
night-time kiss.’ 6 I suggest that as Isak settles, and his
voice-over leads into the final visions built out of his childhood
memories, these scenes that site Isak as simultaneously old and young
help to frame the specific focus, and fluidity, of the final visions.
The final scenes are probably not to be taken as precise
on everyday subsistence processes and domestic activities at each camp. With a high school audience in mind, there is also a strong emphasis on the life of children, notably on their play and on their relationship with their parents, particularly with their mothers ( figure 3.1 ). Apart from a relatively brief sequence of drumming in the last 10 minutes of the last film in the series,
At the Winter Sea Ice Camp
, there is no reference to ceremonial life, nor to rites of passage or shamanistic religious practices
Eyre, Brontë problematises femininity through images of the deadly
Bertha Rochester, vessel of sexual abandon, mad and savage, while
Stoddard’s buried mother-ﬁgure is Bellevue Somers, the female trapped,
and made monstrous, by her own fertility.
Brontë and Stoddard also engage, through their texts, in a debate on the
ways in which economic power is denied to the female within a capitalist
patriarchal society, during their own historical moment. In their novels
they show the female as economically marginalised, oppressed by
customs and institutions which deny her
The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London
Despite no actual harm coming to the child, this danger was perceived to be ever present in homes of the poor, especially when there was no motherfigure available to prevent potentially abusive behaviour.
The perceived unsuitability of working-class homes for young children is further evident in the case of Minnie K. who was aged just two, and diagnosed with a curvature of the spine, when she came under the care of the Waifs and Strays Society in 1890.
Twelve years later, in 1902, her mother wrote
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa
traditionally cast as the author and
subject of the nation – as faithful soldier, citizen-hero and statesman. In the
national family drama that has the achievement of selfhood as its denouement,
it is he who is the chief actor and hero. The motherﬁgure in this drama may
be his mentor, fetish or talisman, but advice and example are taken from a heritage – an aﬃliative line, as Edward Said puts it – of father ﬁgures.16
In short, typically therefore, the male role in the nationalist scenario may be
characterised, as throughout this book, as metonymic. Male ﬁgures are brothers