Re-examining Notions of Transnationalism, Cosmopolitanism and Xenophobia in Postcolonial Africa: A Textual Analysis of Teju Cole’s Open City

  • Kipkoech Mark Chepkwony Laikipia University
  • Nicholas Kamau, PhD Laikipia University
  • Stephen Mutie, PhD Kenyatta University
Keywords: Transnationalism, Cosmopolitanism, Xenophobia, Afropolitanism
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This article looks at how ideas of transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and xenophobia are dramatized in the postcolonial novel in the Teju Cole’s Open City. The article examined transnationalism and cosmopolitanism as the quest that compels characters in the novel to move out of their initial localities; interrogated how the selected novel attempts to re-read the transitional mode of subjectification occasioned by transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and xenophobic attacks on immigrants and established why the immigrants in the text face the xenophobic treatment and how they negotiate the cross-cultural complexities of their new worlds. This article leaned on Taiye Selasi’s Afropolitanism theory. The article used close reading of Open City, exploring themes and motifs in the text. Data was analysed using content and thematic analysis. The article found out that the notions of transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and xenophobia in postcolonial Africa have birthed new identities which have been engaged and interrogated by the Teju Cole in Open City. The paper concluded that the notion of Afropolitanism, with its focus on both rootedness and movement, must be understood as an effort to bring together two divergent frameworks for an understanding of African identity. This article will benefit scholars in the field of migrations, human rights, and globalisations by tackling and exposing the complex view of globalisation, a criticism that transcends national boundaries, colonial worldviews, and postcolonial geopolitics and is based on mutual informing assumptions. It benefits literary studies, especially identity studies and African studies, because it interrogates how migrations bring out new identities and how these new identities stretch the understanding of the new direction of African literature.


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8 March, 2022
How to Cite
Chepkwony, K., Kamau, N., & Mutie, S. (2022). Re-examining Notions of Transnationalism, Cosmopolitanism and Xenophobia in Postcolonial Africa: A Textual Analysis of Teju Cole’s Open City. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 5(1), 13-22.