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Runaway GenresThe Global Afterlives of Slavery$
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Yogita Goyal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479829590

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479829590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Gothic Child

The Gothic Child

(p.69) 2 The Gothic Child
Runaway Genres

Yogita Goyal

NYU Press

Chapter 2 focuses on the figure of the child as soldier. Reading expansively across memoirs and novels about war, I show how the figure of the child shuttles between sentimental and gothic modes, the former universalizing, the latter calling attention to history, often repeating debates about American and Atlantic gothic. Best-selling narratives by Ishmael Beah, Susan Minot, and Uzodinma Iweala replicate the logic of humanitarian spectacles like Kony 2012 (condemning Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony) and the movement to #BringBackOurGirls (focusing on the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria). Tracing how and why the African child soldier appears as the afterlife of the Atlantic slave, the chapter unravels the assumptions about race in translation and travel at work. Lingering in gothic terror, refusing closure or redemption, novels by Chris Abani and Ahmadou Kourouma unearth repressed histories in order to challenge the absolute innocence demanded by human rights advocates.

Keywords:   gothic, war, child soldier, Atlantic, African, memoir, humanitarianism, Ishmael Beah, Susan Minot, Ahmadou Kourouma, Chris Abani

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