It is with the reading of Akiga Sai, then, that I bring this book to a close, but
this closure, as any other, must be held to be tentative, situational, and always
icalsense, awholerange ofAfricanistdiscourseproduced intheperiod ofhigh
colonialism in anglophone Africa. The ‘‘colonial library’’ that I have sought to
read has included ideas of race, rationality, and their relationship to the educa-
bility of the African; the politics of engagement of professionals along with
the pragmatic deployment of a disciplinary practice such as functionalism;
and finally, the self-fashioning of a personal and protonationalist identity
through the writing of a heavily gendered indigenous history. I have been
guided by the desire to take discourses seriously—and taking them seriously
has often meant reading them not merely for the content of their assertions
but moreover for the nature of their entry and subsequent reception into the
world. Emphasizing the rhetorical aspects of discourses rather than merely
their mimetic ones has also meant that my project has often been as interested
in the practices of discursive circulation as in the texts themselves.
Atacertain level,then,thisbookis alsoaninvestigationofthe limitsaswell
as the possibilities of disciplinary knowledges in the context of colonial Af-
rica. Each chapter in its earliest guise was conceived within the intrinsic pa-
rameters of disciplinary agendas even when I was engaging in the critique as a
literary critic. Thus, for instance, the chapter ‘‘ ‘Race,’ Rationality, and the
Pedagogical Imperative’’ was originally conceived as a response to the can-
onical discussions of African ‘‘Rationality’’ as they often appear in postcolo-
Previous Page Next Page