Migration and Identities in Chika Unigwe’s Novels

Omolola A Ladele, Adesunmbo E. Omotayo


Monumental dispersals caused by the phenomenon of migration greatly affect the identities of people. Much like the process of globalization, migration is highly sexualized and gendered. To this extent, it is necessary to centralize women and their peculiar experiences in migration discourses and theories. Beyond the usual focus on the economics, politics and sociology of migration, which at any rate do not often adequately address gender-specific migratory experiences; this study takes a literary route that considers the fictional representations of migrant women in two of the novels of Chika Unigwe: The Phoenix (2005) and On Black Sisters’ Street (2008). The focus here is to underscore the validity and significance of gender as an imperative analytical premise in contemporary literary debates particularly by African migrants. In demonstrating how the inflections of gender portend different outcomes for men and women, the study significantly uncovers how the woman’s body is simultaneously the site of physical and symbolic migration. The essay traces the movement in transition and the impact of these and new environment on the bodies of female migrants and how the embodied motifs of migration ultimately alter the identities and realities of migrant African women in particular. In all, the essay hopes to expand some of the current theorizations on the new directions in the development of the fictional representations of Nigerian women as well as to contextualize the role of the émigré author in these developments.



Women; Migration; Globalization; Female- writers; Environment

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9437


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