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Abstract

In her article, "Landmines, HIV/Aids, and Africa's New Generation," Barbara Harlow asks the question what do "humanitarianism" and "human rights" have to do with the humanities? In a globalizing culture, how do personal stories contribute to political histories? What might be the effect of literature on these pressing questions? Harlow focuses in her essay on the work of Swedish writer and Maputo theater director Henning Mankell through particular attention to Secrets in the Fire and Playing with Fire: Two novels about a young Mozambican named Sofia. Harlow shows how Mankell's linking of the experiences of Sofia to the legacy of landmines and the prognosis of HIV/Aids is suggestive of the new imperatives for plotting alternative relationships between character and setting. As she compares these narratives to the search for "sunshine clauses" in African policy, she further shows how Secrets in the Fire and Playing with Fire are exemplary of both setbacks and advances in rethinking Africa's historic struggle for national liberation and its renewed engagement with contemporary global politics.

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