In the wake: postcolonial migrations from the Horn of Africa

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Abu Bakr Khaal’s African Titanics (written in Arabic) and Jonny Steinberg’s A Man of Good Hope (written in English) track diasporic movements from the former Italian colonies of Eritrea and Somalia. Focusing on mobility as well as memory, both books trace complicated and unpredictable patterns of forced displacement and precarious settlement. African Titanics charts the journey from Eritrea to the shores of the Mediterranean and the sea crossing to Europe, while A Man of Good Hope follows the movement overland from Somalia to South Africa. Both texts delineate communities networked across national borders and propose an alternative geography formed by cultural commonality rather than geopolitical division. The essay draws on Christina Sharpe’s concept of the ‘wake’ as a means of understanding how migrant subjectivity and community are formed through the multiple forms of racialized violence experienced in transnational mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Italian postcoloniality
  • Transnational mobility
  • Migration
  • Eritrea
  • Somalia
  • The wake
  • Creative practice


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