Anna-Leena Toivanen

Anna-Leena Toivanen
University of Eastern Finland | UEF · School of Humanities

Doctor of Philosophy
Representations & poetics of mobility in Francophone Afrodiasporic literatures - a literary mobility studies perspective

About

37
Publications
6,285
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Citations
Introduction
Dr. Anna-Leena Toivanen is Academy Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland. She works in the field of literary mobility studies and her current project focuses on the poetics of mobility in Francophone African literatures. She acts as the literary studies subject editor of the Nordic Journal of African Studies. She is the author of "Mobilities and Cosmopolitanisms in African and Afrodiasporic Literatures" (Brill 2021).
Additional affiliations
September 2020 - April 2021
University of Eastern Finland
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Funded by the Academy of Finland, 2020-2025
April 2019 - August 2020
University of Eastern Finland
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • BoMoCult research area
April 2017 - March 2019
University of Liège
Position
  • Master's Student
Education
September 2018 - September 2018
February 2005 - December 2010
University of Jyväskylä
Field of study
  • Comparative literature

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
In the field of postcolonial literary studies, representations of concrete forms of mobility have not received the critical attention they deserve. This is partly due to the field’s reductive understanding of “mobility” as a synonym for migration. In order to enhance dialogue between postcolonial literary studies and mobilities research, this artic...
Article
Full-text available
Postcolonial literary studies have not paid much attention to literary portrayals of mobility practices partly because the field promotes a reductive understanding of ‘mobility’ as a mere synonym for migration. In order to address this blind spot and to recognise African fictional characters as mobile subjects, the present article focuses on repres...
Article
Full-text available
Paris is the axiomatic centre of francophone African literary representations of Europe. Focusing on narratives that revise Paris-centeredness, this article explores francophone African representations of European peripheries from the perspective of Afroeuropean (im)mobilities. The article shows how, in novels by Michèle Rakotoson, Kidi Bebey, Simo...
Article
Full-text available
Literary texts convey the complexities of the urban experience in a tangible way. While there is a wide body of work on literary representations of Paris, the role of public transport as part of the (postcolonial) urban experience has not received much attention. This article sets out to analyse the meanings of the mobile public space comprising th...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the representation of West and Central African cities in francophone African narratives of diasporic return. Using Camara Laye’s Dramouss (A Dream of Africa), Aïssatou Cissokho’s Dakar, la touriste autochtone (“Dakar, the Native Tourist”), and Daniel Biyaoula’s L’Impasse (“The Impasse”) as case studies, the chapter focuses on...
Chapter
Postcolonial studies tend to reduce ‘mobility’ to a synonym for global migratory movements or a metaphor for the ‘migrant condition’. In order to promote a wider understanding of postcolonial mobilities, this chapter adopts a Mobility Studies perspective for analysing representations of Middle Passage journeys and contemporary Afroeuropean clandest...
Article
Michèle Rakotoson, Elle, au printemps (Saint-Maur: Sépia, 1996), 122 pp. Kathleen Jamie, Surfacing (UK: Sort of Books, 2019), 240 pp., £7.99. Kathleen Jamie (ed.), Antlers of Water: Writing on the Nature and Environment of Scotland (Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2020), 232pp., £20.
Article
In the field of postcolonial literary studies, representations of concrete forms of mobility have not received the critical attention they deserve. This is partly due to the field’s reductive understanding of “mobility” as a synonym for migration. In order to enhance dialogue between postcolonial literary studies and mobilities research, this artic...
Article
Kosmopolitanismin käsite on ollut paljon esillä ihmistieteissä viime vuosina. Sen suosio näkyy myös kirjallisuudentutkimuksen puolella, missä on pohdittu kosmopoliitin romaanin erityispiirteitä (Schoene 2009) ja kosmopoliittia lukutapaa (Spencer 2011). Kosmopolitanismin kasvanut suosio näkyy myös siitä johdetuissa uusissa konsepteissa: esimerkiksi...
Article
Avaimen vuoden 2020 toinen numero on hyvin monipuolinen. Tutkimusartikkeleiden lisäksi mukana on kirjava joukko erilaisia kirjallisuuden alan kirjoituksia. Vuoden 2020 kirjavan kevään aikana olemme oppineet, tai uudelleen oppineet, etälukutaitoja – niin ajallisesti, paikallisesti kuin analyyttisesti. Uuskriittinen tai muukaan lähiluku ei ole haihtu...
Article
Uuden vuosikymmenen ensimmäisen Avaimen artikkelien aiheet nivoutuvat yhteisön ja yhteisöllisyyden sekä toisaalta yksinäisyyden teemoihin modernisoituvan kansakunnan ja kyläyhteisön sekä modernin kaupunkiympäristön konteksteissa. Avain on itse avoin yhteisö ja toivottaa tervetulleiksi erilaisia kirjoituksia kirjallisuudesta.
Article
Full-text available
The present article focuses on the representation of clandestine migrant mobil-ities in the novel Faire l’aventure by the Franco-Caribbean author Fabienne Kanor. The analysis has two lines of inquiry. Firstly, it focuses on the protago-nist’s clandestine travels from Senegal to European peripheral insular locations, which are portrayed as unsatisfa...
Article
Kuten Frank Schulze-Engler (2013, 670) on todennut, Eurooppa on jälkikoloniaalin tutkimuksen sokea piste. Eurooppaa ei ymmärretä ”jälkikoloniaalisena” mantereena, joten se rajautuu kyseisen paradigman ulkopuolelle. Schulze-Engler peräänkuuluttaa Euroopan sisällyttämistä jälkikoloniaalisen tutkimuksen kartalle, minne se siirtomaamenneisyyden määritt...
Article
Rajatutkimuksessa (border studies) keskeinen rajan käsite on taipuisuutensa ansiosta löytänyt tiensä myös kirjallisuudentutkimukseen. Johan Schimanskin (2006, 53–56) mukaan rajoja voidaan kaunokirjallisissa teksteissä tarkastella tekstuaalisesta (tekstin rakenne), symbolisesta (eronteot kuten sukupuoli tai etnisyys), ajallisesta (ihmiselämän eri va...
Article
Full-text available
Literary representations of postcolonial subjects’ concrete mobility practices beyond migrancy have not received much critical attention. To fill this void, this article analyses the representations and poetics of urban everyday mobilities in two francophone African diasporic novels, Michèle Rakotoson’s Elle, au printemps (1996) and Alain Mabanckou...
Article
Full-text available
During the so-called migrant crisis, African clandestine migrants and asylum seekers have frequently been represented as invaders trying to enter Europe in order to destroy its cultural, social, political, and economic integrity. The figure of the clandestine migrant shares similarities with that of the zombie: both represent a contagious alterity...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses Brian Chikwava’s novel Harare North (2009) and its representations of unsuccessful border crossings from the perspective of cosmopolitanism. I argue that through the unnamed protagonist’s inability or his own unwillingness to cross different material and symbolic borders, the novel gives articulation to the failure of such co...
Article
Full-text available
In Aidoo’s Changes: A Love Story (1991), the characters are constantly on the move: tropes of mobility recur throughout the novel. Cars, hotels, business and leisure travel, modern technologies and the figure of what can be referred to as the Afropolitan avant la lettre play a pivotal role in embodying meanings that pertain to class, gender, global...
Article
Full-text available
Alain Mabanckou’s Lumières de Pointe-Noire (2013) is a travelogue in which the celebrated Los Angeles-based author returns to his native Congo-Brazzaville after 23 years of absence. As is typical in postcolonial travel writing, Mabanckou’s text foregrounds the traveller’s identity dilemmas. The “homecoming” is marked by a sense of unease. Firstly,...
Article
Full-text available
Despite all the attention it has received, Afropolitanism remains undertheorised. Afropolitanism, inspired by the concept of cosmopolitanism, includes an explicit link to the African continent, which may result in promoting racialised and territorialised biases. It is also often conceived as an identity position, which tends to result, firstly, in...
Article
Full-text available
The figure of the migrant has become a paradigmatic representative of globalised postcoloniality. Yet, not all ‘postcolonial’ mobilities can be equated with migration. Cases in point are the travelling African protagonists of two diasporic Nigerian short stories, Sefi Atta’s ‘Housekeeping’ (2010) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Transition to Glory’...
Article
Full-text available
Mobility marks the fields of contemporary African and African diasporic literatures in a profound way. In the study of postcolonial literatures, mobility is most often understood in terms of the physical human travel that is embodied in the paradigmatic figure of the migrant. Yet mobility is a concept whose meaning cannot be reduced to migrancy or...
Article
Full-text available
Nathalie Etoke’s novels Un amour sans papiers (1999) and Je vois du soleil dans tes yeux (2008) deal with the hardships of the African postcolonial condition in the global era through the trope of doomed romance. In these novels, the plight of the postcolonial nation-state drives people to emigrate in a search for more viable prospects. While the m...
Article
Full-text available
This article adopts a critically attuned understanding of cosmopolitanism in its reading of Monique Ilboudo’s Le mal de peau, Sefi Atta’s Swallow and Aminata Sow Fall’s Douceurs du bercail. It focuses on the ways in which imaginings of cosmopolitan futures and ideals become compromised through the trope of aborted transnational journeys. All these...
Article
Nathalie Etoke's novels Un amour sans papiers (1999) and Je vois du soleil dans tes yeux (2008) deal with the hardships of the African postcolonial condition in the global era through the trope of doomed romance. In these novels, the plight of the postcolonial nation-state drives people to emigrate in a search for more viable prospects. While the m...
Article
Full-text available
Sub-Saharan African aspiring migrants pursuing their clandestine odysseys through the Sahara toward the Mediterranean seem far removed from the figure of the upwardly mobile migrant paradigmatized by postcolonial theory. The attempt to migrate illegally represents a very precarious and time-consuming form of mobility, where the itinerary is subject...
Article
Elizabeth Tchoungui’s Je vous souhaite la pluie (2006) is a pronouncedly cosmopolitan novel as it acknowledges the intertwined character of the local and the global. The novel could be defined as a romantic postcolonial fairy tale that is as much informed by the African predicament as it is by global inequalities. In the face of the fiasco of the p...
Article
Full-text available
Postcolonial theoretical discourses have adopted postnationalist overtones, declaring the obsolescence of the nation and treating dislocation as the paradigmatic condition. Sometimes, however, the claims of postnationalism may seem premature: the nation-state persists in the African literary agenda. When operating within the current paradigm, the n...
Chapter
In her widely-cited review of The House of Hunger, Juliet Okonkwo criticizes the debut writer Dambudzo Marechera for self-purposefully subjecting his readers to a grotesque imagery: Marechera deliberately presents actions that are sordid and shocking. The vulgarity and histrionic nature of many of them, the excessive interest in sex activity, his t...
Article
Full-text available
This article looks into the thematic of homecoming to the African continent in the novels Juletane by Myriam Warner-Vieyra, Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta and Loin de Mon Père by Véronique Tadjo. This reading sets out to bring together the notions of diaspora and nationhood, which are often conceived as mutually exclusive. It argues for the importance o...
Article
Full-text available
La littérature africaine du XXIe siècle est marquée par des affinités transnationales au lieu d’une approche nationale et locale. La théorie postcoloniale hégémonique a consolidé le paradigme postnational en mettant l’accent sur les métaphores délocalisées. Dans son roman Celles qui attendent (2010), Fatou Diome examine la face souvent tue par les...
Article
: The Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera (1952–1987) is the object of a cult phenomenon: his figure represents a relevant site of sense-making and his earlier unfavorable African criticism is challenged. Marechera’s fiction has a strong autobiographical dimension that results in a metadiscourse on the meanings of authorship, where the notion...

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Cited By

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
This project examines how Francophone African literatures from the mid-20th century to the present represent forms of human physical travel (pedestrianism, automobility, aeromobility, maritime travel, travel in public transport etc.) in the wider context of different Afroeuropean mobilities: student mobilities, tourism and exploration, professional mobilities, criminal mobilities, return travel, and clandestine travel. The project pays attention to the evolution of the theme and its formal features throughout the period, and develops analytical tools for reading mobilities in literature.
Project
Editor -in-chief of the Finnish literary studies journal Avain together with Joel Kuortti (2019-2020)