How does African literature written in French change the way we think about nationalism, colonialism, and postcolonialism? How does it imagine the encounter between Africans and French? And what does the study of African literature bring to the fields of literary and cultural studies? Christopher L. Miller explores these and other questions in Nationalists and Nomads.
Miller ranges from the beginnings of francophone African literature—which he traces not to the 1930s Negritude movement but to the largely unknown, virulently radical writings of Africans in Paris in the 1920s—to the evolving relations between African literature and nationalism in the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout he aims to offset the contemporary emphasis on the postcolonial at the expense of the colonial, arguing that both are equally complex, with powerful ambiguities. Arguing against blanket advocacy of any one model (such as nationalism or hybridity) to explain these ambiguities, Miller instead seeks a form of thought that can read and recognize the realities of both identity and difference.