Imitation

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dc.contributor.author Praeg, Leonhard
dc.date.accessioned 2019-11-08T07:29:49Z
dc.date.available 2019-11-08T07:29:49Z
dc.date.created 2017
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.description.abstract I am HoD of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria with expertise in African political philosophy. I started working on Imitation when the story about Nkandla first broke. As somebody who at the time had been publishing articles, book chapters, monographs and edited anthologies in the domain of postcolonial studies for 15 years. I immediately recognized in the Nkandla project an example of what in the literature is often referred to as the builidng projects we have come to associate with Africa's Big Men. I became intrigued by the conception of power implicit in Big Man politics and as I researched the phenomenon, I soon realized that the conception of power a work in it - of which the associated building projects are but the visible manifestataion - is more general and.in fact, has a very long genealogy in western discourses on power and authority where it is referrred to as plenitudo potestatis, or the 'plenitude of power'. This conception of power was particularly instumental in the conception of both Roman Imperial and papal authority. Given the vast scope of the domain in question, I also realiszed that it would be a life's scholarly work to explain Nkandla in terms of this long genealogy of 'plenitude of power' and so I decided that a novel may allow me to take the imaginative 'short cuts' that would not be allowed for in theoretical scholarship. Imitation, then, is a literaray novel that deals with the Nkandla saga in an oblique way, such that South African readers may delight in the novel without assuming that potential international readers have to know anything about Nkandla in order to have a similar response. Secret to this balancing act is that I use as a point of refernce for Africa's Big Men and their fascination with Big building projects, not Nkandla as such but the more famous Lady of Peace Basilica in Ivory Coast.The central theme of the resulting novel is "imitation" and the way in which it determines much of the dynamics in interpersonal and large-scale political relationships: on the one hand, the building of Our Lady of Peace Basilica in Côte d’Ivoire which is an audacious imitation of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican; on the other hand – and this is what makes of Imitation a literary novel - Imitation is constructed following, or imitating, the ‘floor plan’ of Milan Kundera’s novel 2 Immortality and uses the same set of characters to explore the logic of imitation in their personal relationships. The philosophical musings in Imitation are as accessible and playful as Kundera’s in Immortality but focus mainly on the politics and power of imitation. It is perhaps noteworthy to point out that this is not just a literary novel (because of its intertextual engagement with Milan Kundera’s Immortality) but indeed also a ‘philosophical novel’ which contains many substantial musings on familiar philosophical themes and topics such as free will and determination, the nature of power and political authority, the politics of imitation and others. In terms of my research, Imitation constitutes a continuation of my longstanding interest in postcolonial African politics. In terms of its public profile: • Imitation was published by UKZN Press in 2017 and • Long-listed for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize in 2018. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/72183
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher UKZN Press en_ZA
dc.rights University of Pretoria en_ZA
dc.subject Imitation en_ZA
dc.subject Immortality en_ZA
dc.title Imitation en_ZA
dc.type Book en_ZA


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