African Languages Academic Presents Paper at International Conference
African Languages academic, Dr Henry Gumede, presented a paper titled: Struggle for Recognition: Identity - Formation and Subjectivation, at the 8th International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture in France.
The conference is an annual, peer-reviewed academic event and comprehensive venue for the free exchange and dissemination of ideas on language, translation, literary and cultural studies, which aims to bring together scholars and graduates researching the intersections of these fields.
In his address, Gumede analysed the novel: Umshado in relation to differences in attitudes and behaviour and also in relation to “free” expression or subjectivity by woman writer, N Zulu. This is achieved by exploring the use of language by both men and women in this literary text.
By engaging a nuanced discourse analysis, Gumede sought to explore some contradictory aspects of selected Zulu traditional practices, and how these negatively impact on the rights of women. He then explored the struggles a woman goes through in trying to attain her freedom and independence which unfortunately land her in trouble and she emerges as a victim.
‘On a personal level, this was such an enlightening and worthy experience for me as an academic as I was able share information with the rest of the presenters as well as other conference attendees,’ said Gumede. ‘The interesting part was that I was the only participant from South Africa and I met scholars who come from as far afield as India, England, Turkey, Morocco, Oman, Romania, and Greece. Many of the papers presented touched on my area of specialisation but it was very refreshing to engage with other scholars on new and emerging academic debates and discussions in the academia, especially in literature,’ he added.
Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo