Co-edited by Dr Polo B. Moji, the thematic issue Ghostly border-crossings: Europe in African and Afrodiasporic narratives, has recently been published by Tydskrif vir Letterkunde – A Journal of African Literature, with a striking cover image from Lina Iris Viktor’s Dark Continent 1 series.
As one of the few researchers in South Africa who works on Afro-European narrative form in both English and French, Dr Moji's current research project explores Afrodiasporic literary production in the context of rising European nationalisms through the optic of critical black geographies.
Ghostly border crossings makes a timely contribution to the study of blackness in contemporary Europe, against the backdrop of Britain’s looming “no deal" exit from the European Union, the discourse of migrant crisis, rising nationalism and the ideological construction of “fortress Europe”. The types of borders under scrutiny range from linguistic to physical and ideological borders across a range of European locations—namely, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. We also see a variety of theoretical and conceptual positions, ranging from Avery Gordon’s hauntology of the sociological imaginary, Édouard Glissant’s poetics of relation, Katherine McKittrick’s concern with the geographies of black place(lessness) and Christina Sharpe’s movement of black people in the “wake” as a phenomenon that does not exclude Europe.
Ultimately the “ghostly” reflects both the spectre of the ship ferrying black and brown bodies towards Europe’s maritime borders and the paradoxical (in)visibility of racialised subjects. Ghostly border-crossing is a conceptual framework that allows for a rich set of reflections on blackness as a marginalised or spectral presence, haunting European space.
Ghostly border-crossings: Europe in African and Afrodiasporic narratives (full-text) can be viewed and downloaded here: https://journals.assaf.org.za/tvl