In Shifting Perceptions of Migration in Senegalese Literature, Film, and Social Media, MahrianaRofheart proposes a revised understanding of Senegalese migration narratives by asserting the importance of both local and global connections in recent novels, hip-hop songs, and documentary videos. Much previous research on migration narratives in French from Africa has suggested that contemporary authors often do not consider their countries of origin upon departure and instead focus on life abroad or favor a global perspective. Rofheart instead demonstrates that today’s Senegalese novelists and hip-hop artists, whether living in France or Senegal, express connections to communities both in Senegal and abroad to cope with the traumatic experience of emigration and return. Ultimately, Rofheart asserts that Senegalese national identity remains significant to the way these authors and artists respond to migration.
In her examination of novels in French, hip-hop songs in French and Wolof, and online documentaries, as well as the social and economic currents that influence the texts’ production and circulation, Rofheart engages with scholarship on transnationalism, postcolonialism, popular culture, and new media studies. The study’s initial chapters address well-known works from the mid-twentieth century, including Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure, as well as the films of Ousmane Sembène, and Djibril Diop Mambéty. This bookthen demonstrates how novelists such as Aminata Sow Fall and Fatou Diome, as well as hip-hop artists including Simon and Awadi, break with previous tragic depictions of migration in novels and films to present successful responses to the contemporary context of frequent emigration from Senegal.