n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Beziehungsgestaltung in kolonialer Situation. Literarische Kolonialdiskurse zwischen Herrschaft und Gegenseitigkeit. Ein Beispiel aus der Kolonialliteratur zu Kamerun

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



It was not until a transnational concept of history came into being that people began to realize that relations between colonies and their mother countries have never been one-sided. Even within colonial despotism and its demonstration of power, every person involved had his or her own means and strategies of attack or of opposition. The analysis of power in the colonial context has hitherto concentrated its attention more to the visible instruments of power (such as the military and finances) so that situations of anti-power, within which such apparatuses were not present in considerable quantity, have been neglected by researchers. This is also true where an excellent exchange has taken place on a basis of partnership (e.g. between German and indigenous tradesmen). Symbolic weapons for winning and conserving power like the use of tempting indigenous forces like dances and other rituals as a means of taming the "man of culture" have been overlooked within research on colonial literature as a result of the dominant models of reading colonial relations mentioned above. This is also true of the use of African female charms which are often wrongly interpreted as naïve affection. Without failing to recognize the disastrous consequences of the racist discourse of colonial contact or the unequal distribution of the apparatus of power (weapons, naval fleet, the military) in the colonial context, the present contribution attempts to save colonial literature as a bearer of colonial discourse from obscurity, by trying to find within the texts passages where thinking goes beyond 'white' ruler and 'black' subject. In this way complex layering can be recognized which can be viewed as an invitation to re-read many a colonial text. The analysis will focus on one colonial novel.

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