(Re)Imagining and (Re)Visiting Homelands in Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa
Through the analysis of Noo Saro-Wiwa’s Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (2012), this paper will explore the ambivalent perception towards modernity in present-day Nigeria which affects Saro-Wiwa as a diasporic traveler-writer visiting her motherland. It will be argued that the author’s position as an insider/outsider leads to a reformulation of Paul Gilroy’s roots/routes dichotomy which ultimately affects her reconstruction of Nigeria as her Imaginary Homeland. Starting from an analysis of her liminal position as a prodigal-foreigner, this paper will consider what is perceived as the essence of Nigeria, and how Saro-Wiwa inscribes the country within the mutually exclusive dichotomy modernity/authenticity. The contradictions of such a binary division will be related to Saro-Wiwa’s rejection of modernity, and her desire to preserve Nigeria’s traditions. The approach taken aims to underline to what extent her inclination towards the preservation of cultural heritage over modernization can be associated with her diasporic need to have an Imaginary Homeland that represents a nurturing heritage source.
Keywords: Nigerian diaspora; travel writing; modernization; Imaginary Homelands; roots/routes
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