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East African stories of love: Challenging cultural perceptions

Briggs, Brendon (2019) East African stories of love: Challenging cultural perceptions. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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In recent decades a call for ‘outsiders’ to cease the dominant practice of perpetuating negative stereotypes of Africa and African people has continued to grow (Achebe 1977; Adichie 2009; Asante 1988; Diop 1974; Mudimbe 1988; Mwenda 2007; Wainaina 2008). The demand is in response to the homogenising of the fifty-four African nations and their complex sociocultural relationships into a sustained colonial perception of ‘Otherness’. This creative arts PhD attempts to answer that call by challenging non-African normative expectations of Africa and Africans. It employs processes of participatory autoethnography (Conquergood 1985) that integrate autobiographical and fictional storytelling to create four ‘stories of love’ with the diverse collaboration of eight East African participants in Tanzania and Zanzibar. The research is structured to achieve its creative praxis goals through the ‘observer and observed’ experience (Robson and McCartan 2016), utilising individual and collaborative ‘workshops’ with participants whose fictional characterisations were fully informed by their personal experiences with the subject of love – and most specifically those of ‘romantic love’ (Singer 2009; Solomon 2006). The resulting creative output, complementing the exegetical approach of the thesis, is a literary work (prose treatment) that reveals complex, multidimensional characters who portray nuanced and universal experiences of love. Throughout the dissertation attention is directed towards the rights and experiences of the human subjects as creative participants. Hence, this self-consciously, outsider-generated project undertakes an exegetical examination of the creative experiences informing the participatory storytelling model, its application of important methodologies (Pitts and Miller-Day 2007; Way, Zwier, and Tracy 2015) and the subsequent character and story evolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
United Nations SDGs: Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
Supervisor(s): Broderick, Mick
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