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date: 14 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores what it means for an African American writer to revisit his own relations to the legacies of modernism to address the fraught subject of modernizing Africa. It suggests that one may be able to explore the problem of writing the postcolonial state by turning to a visual form: that of photography, with its own histories of formal experimentation and response to social crisis. The article discusses this framework of modernity by looking at Richard Wright's transnational critique, Black Power: The Record of Reaction in a Land of Pathos. Black Power is an exemplary text of the self-reinvention of the black writer after modernism, confronting the eddying currents of modernity and its histories of forward motion and regression. The discussion considers Wright's uses of the photograph as an object with a radically mixed temporality.

Keywords: modernizing Africa, African colony, postcolonial state, Richard Wright, black writer, temporality

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