Study Guide for Performing Democracy

perform dem internet imageTo understand postcolonial literature, a discussion of the trauma of colonization and the protest of writing is needed. Here are some questions from your course text, due the first week of class, that hone this conversation.


  1. Preface: What stories had been “largely forgotten” by the western press, in this example? How do the highlights of the western press influence a sense of global memory/forgetting?
  2. “The journey of a researcher” does not follow a simple path. Select a quote from the preface or introduction, which considers the author’s journey, starting questions, or identification. Explain why the quote is significant.
  3. What does it mean to protest through literature or with cultural forms? How are these forms of performing democracy?
  4. Page xv-xvi How do the women on this page “perform democratic desire with diverse claims?”
  5. What can you infer about sacred spaces, after reading the introduction?
  6. Protest is not only political and economic, but also fits within a “paradigm of political bloom” (xvii). What are the three factors in this paradigm or model?
  7. What are the images after 9-11?
  8. How does the author Nadia Davids, a Cape Muslim in South Africa, re-define herself after 9-11? Xxi
  9. What is a counter-narrative?
  10. What does Nouri Ghana argue about “narrating injury?” xxiii
  11. What does Ranjana Khanna argue about the narration or mourning of injustice?
  12. What does Sigmund Freud argue about Melancholy?
  13. How have western views of Africa and Middle East changed? (xxiv)
  14. Why do you think that trauma can reconfigure identity? (xxiv)
  15. How are artistic processes / like writing / different than violence? How is literature a form of heteroglosssia (Bakhtin xxv)?
  16. How are women’s voices a “forgotten spring” according to Segall’s text? (xxvi)
  17. Why conceive of women as if they were a “minority group” according to Mernissi? Xxvi
  18. Why view women’s stories as part of a trans-national feminism, not limited to nation-states? (xxvi)
  19. Why do we need both Boal and Bourdieu in cultural studies? Xxvi
  20. What is meant by the phrase “hybrid blooms of democratic voices”? (xxviii)

Chapter 6:

  1. What is Monwa's story?
  2. What is the role of song in Khumbulani?
  3. What do you learn about the TRC?
  4. Select an image that responds to chapter 6. Write a paragraph on it.