Ashleigh Harris, senior lecturer at Uppsala University and member of Concurrences' Advisory Board and Nicklas Hållén, postdok at Concurrences, Lnu and at University of York receive funding from Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council). Vetenskapsrådet supports the research project "African Street Literatures and the Future of Literary Form" with a total of 4.8 MSEK over four years.
The aim of the project is to critically map and analyse African street literature, by which we mean literature that emerges and is shaped by the specific factors determining everyday life in sub-Saharan Africa's megacities. African literary scholarship today is largely focused on the African novel, a genre that enjoys global circulation, but which is less relevant in Africa itself, where new and emergent forms of literary expression dominate cultural circuits and flows. A key premise for this project is that these emergent literary forms are cultural archives of everyday life in the African city. As such, these forms call for a literary mapping and analysis that they have not yet received. African cities are concentrated sites of vulnerable and asymmetrical modernity. This is the result of the intensification of social, political, economic, health and environmental precariousness, alongside uneven spurts of economic growth, rapid urbanisation, unprecedented access to technology and global connectivity, and a correlated surge in cultural and aesthetic expression. The project wagers that the African city and its writing are vital sites to investigate the relationship between literary expression and modernity at its most pressured and unpredictable, and aims to lay the foundations for a theory of the future of literary form in precarious modernity.