Picturebooks and the Grammar of Tanzanian National Identity: Sociolinguistic Policy, Collective Transformations and Cultural Production
Taylor, Carl Thomas
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This thesis uses psychoanalytic theory to decipher the popularity and cultural relevance of locally produced Tanzanian picturebooks. I suggest that picturebooks in Tanzania are intricately linked with Tanzania’s intimacy with Swahili linguistic culture, specifically Bantu Oral Folklore. Previous folklore scholarships argues that folklore performance aesthetics cannot be transmitted to the page. Such scholars have not considered picturebooks in their arguments. Picturebooks keenly utilize the relationship between text and image to produce an unique aesthetic experience. I propose that picturebook aesthetics can capture Bantu Oral folklore performance aesthetics in their text-image relationship. With the work of Christopher Bollas, who argues that aesthetic experience of an object is a function of unconscious existential memories of being transformed, the aesthetic moment of Tanzanian picturebooks can then be traced to a key socio-historical moment in Tanzania when Tanzania attempted to craft a new identity during Ujamaa with Swahili linguistic culture.