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Germanic Languages & Literatures pres.

Afrofuturist Challenges to Humanism: The Fiction of Sharon Dodua Otoo

Priscilla Layne

Layne Layne
Layne
In her short story, “Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin,” Sharon Otoo engages with the topic of posthumanism from an Afrofuturist perspective in this parody of an encounter between a German married couple at breakfast. Riffing on famous German comic Loriot’s sketch, “The Breakfast Egg,” which mocked the lack of communication between husbands and wives from the perspective of the husband, Otoo’s story is a feminist re-reading of this scenario that strips the white man of his agency by granting agency to a breakfast egg that has refused to cook properly. In this story, the posthumanist strategy of granting agency and reflection to non-human objects allows readers to consider who else in German history might have been treated similarly – Women? People of color? Queer folx? It is therefore fitting that the story ends with Herr Gröttrup’s interaction with his non-German maid, a woman whose presence he was unaware of until then because her status as a woman, a domestic worker and a non-German made her and her labor invisible to him. It is only on the day that he contemplates the possibility of the egg having agency that he is able to really see the others who populate his world.
Layne Layne
Layne

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