Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Dr. Ana Luszczynska

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Heather Russell

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Nandini Dhar


african feminism, black feminism, feminism, identity, Said, Achebe, Adichie, Walcott, imitation, performativity, the thing around your neck, americanah, transnational, blogger

Date of Defense



In An Image of Africa, Chinua Achebe indicts Conrad’s Heart of Darkness for exemplifying the kind of purist rhetoric that has long benefited Western ontology while propagating reductive renderings of African experience. Edward Said refers to this dynamic as the way in which societies define themselves contextually against an imagined Other. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fiction exposes how, by occupying cultural dominance, Western, white male values are normalized as universal. Nevertheless, these values are de-naturalized by their inconsistencies in the lived experiences of Adichie’s black, African women. Women who are at once aware of and participant in, the pretentions that underlie social interaction—pointing to the inevitability of performativity and disrupting the illusion of pure identity. These realizations interrupt Conrad’s essentialist conception of identity and reclaim diverse ontological possibilities for the Other.



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