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Bruce Robbins, Paulo Lemos Horta, and Kwame Anthony Appiah

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479829682

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479829682.001.0001

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Afropolitan Style and Unusable Global Spaces

Afropolitan Style and Unusable Global Spaces

(p.240) 18 Afropolitan Style and Unusable Global Spaces

Ashleigh Harris

NYU Press

Ashleigh Harris critiques the tendency to locate Afropolitanism in African expatriate and diaspora culture, particularly as a culture of elite consumerism. Asking if “Afropolitanism” is a useful term, Harris argues that without it, the ways in which economic inequalities shape Africans’ experience of worldliness would largely remain invisible. Beyond the consumer culture of the elite, she contends, Africans do not enjoy equal cosmopolitan freedoms as citizens of the world. In her analysis of Brian Chikwava’s novel Harare North as a dramatization of the cosmopolitan experience of being African in the world, Harris arrives at a conclusion that seems similar to Bender’s conception of the cosmopolitan as someone who is at home nowhere rather than everywhere, but is more literal: the Afropolitanism Chikwava expresses in his novel is an actual state of homelessness, rather than the possibility of being at home in the world.

Keywords:   Afropolitan, diaspora, worldliness, homelessness, inequality

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