Migritude literature, or the literature of postcolonial migration, is often autobiographical and thus productively read through the lens of life writing. How authors position the immigrant self as subject sheds light on narrative possibilities and their potential impact on readers in contexts where racist, anti-immigrant discourses dominate. This article explores the scope and stakes of migritude life writing through the example of Il mio viaggio della speranza (My Voyage of Hope), a 2011 memoir by Bay Mademba, who recounts his journey from Senegal to Italy and bears witness to the discrimination he faces there. Mademba’s testimony responds to duress, which Ann Stoler defines as the “colonial entailments” that shape contemporary spaces, institutions, and relations. Produced by a small Tuscan press, the memoir circulates via immigrant street vendors. Through the convergence of narrative and material transactions, the book prompts reader-consumers to recognize their complicity in the duress that shapes their interactions.
The Transits and Transactions of Migritude in Bay Mademba’s Il mio viaggio della speranza (My Voyage of Hope)
Eleanor Paynter is a PhD candidate in comparative studies and a presidential fellow at Ohio State University. Her research focuses on precarious migration, asylum, and borders through the lenses of refugee studies, oral history, and narrative analysis, with a focus on contemporary Africa-Europe mobilities.
Eleanor Paynter; The Transits and Transactions of Migritude in Bay Mademba’s Il mio viaggio della speranza (My Voyage of Hope). the minnesota review 1 May 2020; 2020 (94): 104–123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-8128449
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