With this issue, Transition updates Countee Cullen’s iconic question by asking, What is Africa to me now? A soul-searchingly private query, its ramifications nevertheless play out in profoundly public ways, around issues of immigration, racial and ethnic tension, and the search for belonging. Guest edited by Bénédicte Ledent and Daria Tunca, in this cluster Madhu Krishnan takes Achebe’s Things Fall Apart as a starting point for defining contemporary African literature, while Louis Chude-Sokei explores through their novels the experiences of Africans living in America. Julie Kleinman reveals the perspective of Malian immigrants in France, and photographer Johny Pitts searches Europe with his camera for what he calls “Afropeans.”
Meanwhile, celebrated author and editor Hilton Als has his own questions about diaspora, which he explores in recollections of a childhood summer in Barbados. Caribbean Canadian novelist David Chariandy also treats Transition readers to a sneak preview of his forthcoming novel, Brother. We close with a suite of essays that examine the social impacts of collective fear, and ask—given obvious parallels between the Rodney King beating and the murder of Trayvon Martin—why does this keep happening to young black men?
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Featured Article: The Path between Two Points: Malian Adventures in France #Open Access
by Julie Kleinman
Narrating the story of Boubacar, a Malian immigrant in France, Kleinman explores how French colonial fantasies of travel and adventure in Africa belie the fraught and perilous real-life "adventures" of Soninke men trying to eke out a living in the Hexagon.
Contributors: Hilton Als, Radcliffe Bailey, Malika Booker, Kerry Chance, David Chariandy, Louis Chude-Sokei, Danielle Legros Georges, Lyle Ashton Harris, George Afedzi Hughes, Kelly Baker Josephs, Ju Yon Kim, Julie Kleinman, Madhu Krishnan, Bénédicte Ledent, Isaak J. Liptzin, Mário Macilau, Fahamu Pecou, Johny Pitts, Robert Pruitt, Laurence Ralph, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Petra Tournay-Theodotou, Daria Tunca, Chika Unigwe, Patricia J. Williams.