Werkwinkel, 2008, vol. 3(1)

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    A Confidence Man in Africa: Karl May and the German Colonial Enterprise
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Ferens, Dominika
    This paper argues for the importance of studying the German popular fiction writer Karl May (1842-1912) from a postcolonial studies perspective, both within the context of the nineteenth century German imperial project and the Euro-American tradition of ethnic impersonation. May’s ethnographic adventure stories were, and to some extent still are, a considerable cultural force in Germany and Poland, where they are regularly reprinted, televised, parodied, and read aloud to children. Focusing on the power-knowledge nexus in May’s travel narratives, this paper explores the role May’s fiction played in the formation of German national identity, May’s ambivalent attitude towards the colonization of Africa, his strategies of building ethnographic authority, his contradictory attitudes towards the racial Other, and his own lifelong performances of Otherness.
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    De antikoloniale etnografie en postkoloniale inschikkelijkheid in de Zuid-Afrikaanse reisverslagen van Antoni Rehman
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Zajas, Paweł
    The paper is devoted to the ethnographic work of Antoni Rehman (1840-1917) – the first attempt, in Polish, at a scientific description of the southern part of the African continent. In the course of the analysis it becomes evident that the ethnographic writings of Antoni Rehman are involved in the intricate relations of colonialism in a way not apparent at first glance. In his evaluation of indigenous peoples, Rehman first and foremost emphasizes the aspirations of certain groups (particularly the ‘Kaffirs,’ as the Xhosas and Zulus were referred to at that time) to self-sufficiency and independence from Boer and English domination. The South African indigenous peoples thus become a metaphor for Polish post-partition history. Rehman demonstrates his anti-colonial views likewise on a broader level, through his repeated contempt and condemnation of the colonization of nations and ethnic groups, such as the English and Afrikaner policies towards the black majority, as well as British attempts at seizing the Boer Republics (Rehman’s first stay in South Africa coincided with the annexation of Transvaal in 1877). Still, on a more detailed level, for instance in Rehmans’s description of European minorities, positive evaluation is bound up not with anti-colonial attitudes, but rather with successful colonization and the accumulation of goods. In this case, the German people are placed on top of the civilization ladder, while the Boers are depicted as if they were by their nature defined as a people who do not have the right to their own modern state. The Polish researcher has internalized the Prussian ideology of progress which relegates less organized nations to the margins of history. Accordingly we see to which extent postcolonial nostalgia and consciously hailing from the colonized part of Europe determine the nature of Polish-South African ethnography.
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    Postcolonial Studies and the ‘Second World’: Twentieth-Century German Nationalist-Colonial Constructs
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Surynt, Izabela
    The aim of the present article is to document an argument that is increasingly being raised in the context of a current debate in Poland concerning the usefulness of postcolonial theory in Polish philology (and in the humanities in general). The issue at stake is whether a congruence exists between, on the one hand, the relationship between First World colonial cultures and their overseas spheres of domination, and, on the other, the imperial policy of the Central/Eastern European powers towards smaller countries or ethnic/cultural communities absorbed by the larger state organisms. More specifically, the article discusses the relations between Germany (the German states and later the German Empire) and Poland (Poles), as well as eastern Prussia in the nineteenth century. The colonial practices of narrative appropriation, stigmatization, and elimination of the Other, which are characteristic of British and French hegemonic discourse, can also be discerned in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian and German literature. In view of this, the article discusses following issues: (1) the connection between constructions of the nation and the colonial project in the German-language public space from the eighteenth to the twentieth century; (2) the postcolonial deconstruction of the “Polish space” in German nineteenth-century literature, with Gustav Freytag’s “eastern-colonial” novel Soll und Haben as a case study; and (3) an analysis of the “peripheries’own voice,” i.e. Polish responses to the colonization of “Polishness” in the second half of the nineteenth century.
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    “Spel van misleiding”: Over de kunst van Hafid Bouazza
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Louwerse, Henriëtte
    Hafid Bouazza is an influential and celebrated author in the Netherlands today. In the context of contemporary Dutch literature, Bouazza’s Moroccan background still marks a divergence from the born-and-bred Dutch norm. Bouazza both challenges and uses this position to the full. His writing demonstrates that the perceived us-them or self-other oppositions are questionable ideological constructs. He undermines the concept of a unified culture and the wholeness of the self. He explores and exploits stereotypical beliefs held on both sides of the East/West divide. The result is a magical realist setting that both puzzles and enchants. This contribution offers an overview of Bouazza's main thematic concerns in this literary prose to date.
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    Tussen balkanisme en oriëntalisme: Emants over Bosnië en Herzegovina
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Novaković-Lopušina, Jelica
    This article is an analysis of a travel journal written by the well-known Dutch novelist Marcellus Emants who, although strongly inspired by Naturalism, displayed a preference for romantic oriental images. Being solidly informed about the economic, political, multi-confessional and multi-ethnical reality of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning of the twentieth century, he noted observations that would become typical for a future Balkan discourse in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, his attention was primarily drawn to the muslim society, because it allowed him to indulge in romatic visions of an oriental paradise lost.
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    Through the Heart of Africa: Identity in Transition as Shown in Per Wästberg’s Novels
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Szulia, Jagoda
    “Afrika förändrar människor” – Africa changes people – claims Per Wästberg on the pages of one of his books (1960b). His life and literary work seem to confirm the idea. In this article it is argued that the continent plays an important part in the process of identity transition. It is also an attempt at proving that the main character of Per Wästberg’s sequence of four novels from between 1986 and 1993 – Eldens skugga (The Shadow of the Fire), Bergets källa (The Source of the Mountain), Ljusets hjärta (Heart of the Light) and Vindens låga (The Flame of the Wind) – follows a pattern similar to that of rites of passage. A brief analysis of the works is preceded by a summary of Arnold van Gennep’s and Victor Turner’s anthropological theories on the three stages of rites of passage. Since the middle stage has Africa as its setting in the novels, it is given most attention. A description of Wästberg’s and the main character’s relationship with the continent will hopefully contribute to understanding why a stay in Africa becomes a crucial element of a change of identity.
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    Imperial eyes van de postkoloniale criticus: Selectieve lectuur van achttiende-eeuwse reisbeschrijvingen over Zuid-Afrika
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Huigen, Siegfried
    In her influential book, Imperial Eyes (1992), Mary-Louise Pratt portrays eighteenth-century scientific travellers as accomplices of colonial expansion. Within the discourse of natural history these researchers would, according to Pratt, erase indigenous people from their representations, or would reduce them in representations to their bodily features disregarding their culture. This article intends to amend Pratt’s account. Firstly, I would like to demonstrate that Pratt performs a highly selective and reductive reading on very complicated texts, while disregarding many other texts. Reading the texts of the writers who are quoted by Pratt more carefully and taking into consideration a broader range of travel accounts of eighteenth-century travellers in South Africa, it appears that ethnography forms an important part of these texts, as a component of a wider encyclopaedic interest in South Africa. This ethnography is in general sympathetic towards the culture of indiginous South Africans and critical of Dutch colonial rule. Secondly, instead of being directly instrumental to colonial expansion, the travellers used the existing colonial infrastructure and the colonial regime for the benefit of their own research. Following the terminology of Actor Network Theory one could speak in this instance of intéressement, the ability of researchers to obtain support for their projects from actors outside the scientific network.
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    Belgisch Congo (1927-1930) in de herinneringen van de Poolse dokter Henryk Gordziałkowski
    (Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, 2008) Czarnecka, Bożena
    The memoirs of Gordziałkowski, inspired by a three-year stay in the Belgian Congo and published in 1934 under the title Czarny sen (The Black Dream), constitute a wellconstructed text written in a lively, vibrant language, combining elements of reality and adventure in an interesting way. In this non-voluminous book, Gordziałkowski describes colonial reality from the perspective of an ‘Other among Others’. This picture is in many respects related to Flemish colonial literature’s more or less stereotypical image of the colonies, yet it simultaneously depicts certain issues in a significantly different way. In 1959 the book was republished, which could not be a mere coincidence taking into account the development of the political situation in Africa and in Poland itself. For various reasons, the publisher edited and manipulated the text to the extent that the 1959 version effectively inverts the meaning of the original. Such adjustment of a text to new circumstances casts new light on the relationship between literature and external reality.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego