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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding phenomena: the rewriting of history and its use in Juan Tomas Avila Laurel Sharon, Tucker


This study is launched from the general understanding that History is a dialectical process comprised by the contributions of multiple actors, all of which interact in a contentious give-and-take. Keeping in mind this precept, ,I look at the novel La carga, by contemporary Equatoguinean author Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, as an alternative source of history, and assess that history as he has constructed it. This entails not only a detailed exploration of the world he creates within the novel, but a look at the intertextual bonds he establishes with such nineteenth-century writers as Manuel Iradier and Jose Marti. My analysis begins with the general notion that in Avila's granting of textual agency to natural elements one can begin to see the first inklings of a challenge to typical Eurocentric historiography. In the first major, section I look at what for all intents and purposes has been deemed the colonial dialectic, or the greater social dynamic that maintained colonial hegemony, as it is presented in the vignettes of 1940 Equatorial Guinea that we see in La carga. In the next section, I look at what Avila does with some of the discursive tenets of Spanish imperialism, especially those associated with the monolithic conception of Africa and Europe. And finally, I look at the way that relations between spatiality—mainly the geographic classifications inherent in colonial discourses—and subjectivity give way to Avila's commentary on modern-day Equatorial Guinea. I try to close with some speculation on the strategic formation of which Avila and La carga may form part, beginning with a look at his prefacio and concluding with a questioning of where the attitudes outlined in the prefacio may place him on the grand scale of African discourses of resistance.

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