Dênis Augusto da Silva (University of Lisbon)


Dênis Silva holds a Master’s degree in Literary Studies (2021) from the State Universityof Rio de Janeiro, and a degree in Arts and Humanities (2015) from the same institution. He is a PhD student in Portuguese and Romanic Studies–African Studies at the Schoolof Arts and Humanities at the University of Lisbon, where he is a Research Fellow in the “AfroLab Project–Building African Literatures: Institutions and consecrations insideand outside the Portuguese-Language Space (1960-2020)”. Currently, his works arededicated to investigating the reception of African Literatures inPortuguese, especiallyin the Brazilian Space


Questioned Modernity in Abdulai Sila’s works

In Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (2015), the Warwick Research Collective argues that reinterpreting the concept of modernity “involves de-linking it from the idea of the ‘west’ and yoking it to that of the capitalist world-system” (WReC 2015: 15). In other words, it is not enough to problematize only the concept of modernity: it is also necessary to critically reflect on how much modernity itself is inseparable from our capitalist world-system. Literature can do this, in its capacity to promote acute reflections on our material and imagined realities. In fact, and following the privilège des retardataires noted by Michael Löwy (1995: 116), peripheral and semi-peripheral literatures (Casanova 1999; Moretti 2003; Santos 1994)can do even more. From this starting point, this paper aims to present moments in Abdulai Sila’s work in which the idea of western modernity is problematized under several characters’ viewpoints localized in the African continent. Sila’s characters can be an interesting access for a reconceptualization of a modernity idea as a set of events shared at the same time in a combined and uneven fashion, following Trotsky’s theory on which the WReC relies,and which elaborates about the capitalist world-system’s necessary development. Starting from the work of the Guinean author, my research aims to demonstrate reflection points in which the concepts of modernity and development can be reinterpreted closely linked to the concept of the capitalist world-system