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Life-on-a-Human-Hyphen: Mapping Interpersonal Migrations in Calixthe Beyala’s Your Name Shall Be Tanga
November 8, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2010-2011)
French and Italian, UW-Madison
How may the study of interpersonal encounters enhance existing theories of migration and diaspora? This presentation reinterprets the migratory notion of living life-on-the-hyphen or between nations by mapping embodied hyphenization in Calixthe Beyala’s West African novel Your Name Shall Be Tanga. An analysis of the protagonist’s self-proclaimed existence as a “girlchild-woman” within a “human crossroads” demonstrates the significance of studying how we live in relationship to people in addition to places. This study of life-on-a-human-hyphen—how the scattered self forms through interpersonal encounters—informs the more traditional place-based notion of life-on-the-hyphen and consequentially our reading of migrant literature.
Olivia Donaldson is a Ph.D. Candidate in French at UW-Madison, specializing in Francophone studies. Her research puts theories of migration and diaspora into dialogue with Francophone literature and film. Olivia has several articles under review and a book review forthcoming in the Journal of Lesbian Studies. She holds a B.A. in French and an M.A. in History from Virginia Tech, and she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa. She has taught courses in French as well as in Gender and Women’s Studies at Virginia Tech and UW-Madison. Her honors and awards include the Elaine Marks Outstanding Dissertator Award, L’Institut d’Etudes Françaises d’Avignon Fellowship, American Institute for Maghrib Studies Travel Award, Vilas Travel Grants, and Phi Beta Kappa.