Mediating Violence from Africa


Mediating Violence from Africa

Francophone Literature, Film, and Testimony after the Cold War

George S. MacLeod

248 pages
2 illustrations, 1 appendix, index


October 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Mediating Violence from Africa explores how African and non-African Francophone authors, filmmakers, editors, and scholars have packaged, interpreted, and filmed the violent histories of post–Cold War Francophone Africa. This violence, much of which unfolded in front of Western television cameras, included the use of child soldiers facilitated by the Soviet Union’s castoff Kalashnikov rifles, the rise of Islamist terrorism in West Africa, and the horrific genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Through close readings of fictionalized child-soldier narratives, cinematic representations of Islamist militants, genocide survivor testimony, and Western scholarship, George S. MacLeod analyzes the ways Francophone African authors and filmmakers, as well as their editors and scholarly critics, negotiate the aesthetic, political, cultural, and ethical implications of making these traumatic stories visible. MacLeod argues for the need to periodize these productions within a “post–Cold War” framework to emphasize how shifts in post-1989 political discourse are echoed, contested, or subverted by contemporary Francophone authors, filmmakers, and Western scholars.

The questions raised in Mediating Violence from Africa are of vital importance today. How the world engages with and responds to stories of recent violence and loss from Africa has profound implications for the affected communities and individuals. More broadly, in an era in which stories and images of violence, from terror attacks to school shootings to police brutality, are disseminated almost instantly and with minimal context, these theoretical questions have implications for debates surrounding the ethics of representing trauma, the politicization of memory, and Africa’s place in a global (as opposed to a postcolonial or Euro-African) economic and political landscape.

Author Bio

George S. MacLeod is an associate professor of French at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.


“George MacLeod’s outstanding study of mediation in Francophone African literature, film, and testimony offers an unfailing and generous commitment to foregrounding representations of lived African experiences. His book models a political and critical refusal of transparency and pathos, while simultaneously showing the complexity, often paradoxical, of how we access contemporary Africa(s).”—Lydie Moudileno, Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French at the University of Southern California

“George MacLeod convincingly shows how iconic African figures of the post–Cold War—the child soldier, the survivor of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, the Islamist terrorist, and the celebrity humanitarian—were first mediated in dominant Western political discourses before finding their way into Francophone cultural productions. Mediating Violence from Africa charts new ways for reading violence in Francophone African cultural productions of the past thirty years.”—Koffi Anyinefa, professor and chair of French and Francophone studies at Haverford College

“The pertinence of the iconic figures chosen to analyze how political violence in Africa is mediated combined with George MacLeod’s innovative transnational and post–Cold War timeframe make this book an important and timely contribution to the field of Francophone studies.”—Alexandre Dauge-Roth, author of Writing and Filming the Genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda: Dismembering and Remembering Traumatic History

Mediating Violence from Africa grants new insights for students and scholars of Africa today. It is a well-crafted critical study that is fascinating to read. George MacLeod is an excellent scholar and literary critic.”—Mildred Mortimer, author of Women Fight, Women Write: Texts on the Algerian War

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Sources and Translations
Introduction: Iconic Figures and Post–Cold War Mediations
1. Using the Child Soldier
2. Filming Terrorists, Filming Timbuktu
3. Rwanda’s Tutsi Survivors
4. The Celebrity Humanitarian Ally
Conclusion: Mediating Violence from Africa in the Post–Post–Cold War Period
Appendix: Data Visualization of Vénuste Kayimahe’s Marginalizations in Discussions of “Rwanda: Writing as a Duty to Remember”

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