Global Humanities Junior Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
March – May 2016
Traditions of knowledge. Literay Writing between Africa, France and Portugal in the works of Boubacar Boris Diop and Mia Couto
The dissertation project which is located in the field of comparative literature aims to explore the conjunction between narration, knowledge and their ethical dimension in the contemporary works of the African writers Boubacar Boris Diop and Mia Couto. It aims to analyze literary texts produced in African contexts which have been highly influenced by European culture during the long periods of French and Portuguese colonialism. Being located in the field of Romance studies but dealing with literature of African origin, the project is highly innovative within the German academic context. It focuses on the cultural dynamics at work with what may be called “world literature”, going beyond a simplistic division based on geographic provenience.
Several novels of both Diop and Couto deal in an aesthetically and poetically outstanding way with epistemological concerns, at the centre of which lies the relation between knowledge and responsibility. The texts examine in which ways actors of distinctive cultural and social backgrounds can access knowledge and which factors may define its authoritativeness. In relation to this aspect the notion of the traditions of knowledge will be defined. Reflections on language, translation and media play a pivotal role in this respect. The project intends to contribute to the ongoing debate in literature studies about the notion of genre from a systematic perspective.
Lucia Weiß has been a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) since December 2015 and holds a graduate scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). She obtained a B.A. in Italian Literature with a minor in economics from the University of Hamburg and a M.A. in Romance Literature (Italian, French, Portuguese) from the FUB. As an exchange student she studied at the Università Roma 3 and the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3.
Amongst others, her research interests include Jewish studies – in particular in the context of Romance literature – translation theory and the relation between literature and the sciences with particular regard to economics. She also obtained a cross-media traineeship and has been working as freelance journalist for several years.