“La Sorcellerie du savoir-faire technologique”: Sorcery and Knowledge in Kourouma's Monnè, outrages et défis (1990)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent decades, sorcery has offered a thematic and cultural intersection for many questions engaging postcolonial francophone writers, from the reexamination of dominant historical narratives to issues of tradition and modernity. Celebrated Ivoirian author Ahmadou Kourouma portrayed occult agents frequently in his works. However, for Kourouma, the supernatural is less a sign of cultural preservation, than an emblem of the stagnation of African societies. Through a case study of the author's second novel, Monnè, outrages et défis (1990), which spans the pre- to post-colonial periods, this article argues that Kourouma depicts sorcery as an ineffective resistance against the tangible aspects of colonial power. An analysis of the work's portrayal of witchcraft at the levels of text and plot indicates that occult rituals fail time and again to prevent or overthrow European control in Africa. However, the ironic portrayal of witchcraft reflects back to colonial doctrine and discourse as a vehicle for manipulation. Ultimately, Kourouma not only critiques French and African social narratives, but rather by extension, he calls into question accepted forms of knowledge, interrogating the role of discourse in shaping societies, and destabilizing epistemological hierarchies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-639
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary French and Francophone Studies
Volume20
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ahmadou Kourouma
  • colonialism
  • resistance
  • Sorcery
  • witchcraft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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