Faculty Research Forum: Beth Willey

"Yvonne Vera’s THE STONE VIRGINS and 'Skokiaan': Creating Alternate and Gendered Spaces of Modernity through Music"

When Oct 26, 2012
from 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Humanities Bldg., Room 300
Contact Name
Contact Phone 502-852-8977
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Yvonne Vera’s novel THE STONE VIRGINS is a harrowing account of some of the horrors that accompanied Zimbabwe’s armed struggle for liberation from 1966-1980 and the repression of dissidents that followed independence.  Throughout this traumatic struggle, the Zimbabwean state and people searched for a tenable postcolonial identity.  This search engaged and questioned the discourses and structures of modernity from the creation of a viable nation-state to rethinking possible roles for women in the nation, state, and culture at large.  Vera’s novel addresses the need to create a space for women in the anti- and post-colonial imaginary through its references to the ways in which Zimbabwean women had traditions of engaging the public sphere, even if those traditions often went unrecognized as the platforms for public engagement.  The novel suggests that if we look at the ways in which music, and more specifically in this case, the song “Skokiaan,” circulates through the history of Zimbabwe, we can imagine the global and gendered alternative modernities often silenced by nationalist discourses in postcolonial states.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Global Humanities Lecture Series of the Humanities PhD Program.