Cultural solidarities: apartheid and the anticolonial commons of world literature

Stefan Helgesson*, Louise Bethlehem, Gül Bilge Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

11 Scopus citations


This special issue considers networked cultural responses loosely figured as “cultural solidarities” in the Global South, on the understanding that mid-twentieth century struggles to end colonialism were addressed within a transnational domain. It takes apartheid South Africa as its point of departure, positioning literature from South Africa within a broadly anti-colonial commons. As they consider works by Alex La Guma, Nazim Hikmet Ran, Athol Fugard, and Todd Matshikiza, among others, our contributors—Christopher J. Lee, Gül Bilge Han, Ashleigh Harris and Andrea Thorpe—question the role of aesthetic forms in constructing long-distance solidarities in a Cold War setting. Mohammad Shabangu’s assertion of the necessity of “opacity” as a counter to the recuperation of the African writer brings such questions into the present, intersecting contemporary debates on world literature. Finally, solidarity is framed in temporal rather than geographical terms in Andrew van der Vlies and Julia Willén’s dialogue on “reading for hope” in the aftermath of failed revolutionary projects.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Apartheid
  • Cold War
  • decolonization
  • solidarity
  • world literature


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