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Drawing the LineToward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice$
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Carrol Clarkson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254156

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254156.001.0001

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Who Are We?

Who Are We?

(p.161) 7 Who Are We?
Drawing the Line

Carrol Clarkson

Fordham University Press

Several South African novels written after 1994 explore questions of personal, cultural and political identity as characters test their inherited values and beliefs in different and often unfamiliar social contexts. The issue of belonging is poignantly focused in the insistent question, “Who are we?”— and it is through this question that each character confronts the contingency of his or her way of being in relation to others. This chapter explores questions of community during a time of political and social transition, and in the course of the discussion puts the African philosophy of Ubuntu into conversation with the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy. The chapter ends with a consideration of the performative capacity of a literary text to inaugurate a “community” of readers, and suggests ways in which South African culture has a contribution to make to contemporary European philosophical debates.

Keywords:   We, Community, Ubuntu, Jean-Luc Nancy, Postapartheid South African Literature, Willem Bleek and Lucy Lloyd

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