While reading the articles, which discuss critical theory, power and literacy, I was reminded of a wonderful book I just finished—Americanuh by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Americanuh tells the story of Ifemelu, a young woman who leaves Africa to finish her schooling in America, whose position as an outsider allows her to write a blog (that is basically critical theory) about African Americans in the US.
“It helps us to understand that reading the word cannot be separated from reading the world” (Janks, 13). Even though Ifemelu knew English—it is the official language of British-colonized Nigeria, after all—she experienced a new kind of literacy when she moved to the United States to read her new world. It was fascinating how she was able to read people’s interactions and make critical deductions from it that were foreign to her a few years prior when she was in Nigeria. The literacy she experienced was slow, but through her blog, she was able to cause social change because she understood the power differential of groups in the US.
I am not really sure where I am going with this, but this course was definitely in my head while I was reading Americanuh. To me, it’s important to have a real connection to theory that is a part of your everyday life, as reading fiction books are to mine. As I was writing my 123 paper, I was thinking about how uncomfortable I am making judgments about the power struggles in my place of employment (it’s kind of depressing, plus I have zero power to actually change anything). I much prefer to see those in my fictionalized worlds.