In the field of postcolonial literary studies, representations of concrete forms of mobility have not received the critical attention they deserve. This is partly due to the field's reductive understanding of “mobility” as a synonym for migration. In order to enhance dialogue between postcolonial literary studies and mobilities research, this article focuses on representations of aeromobility in the context of Afroeuropean student mobilities in a set of Francophone African novels from the 1980s to the 2010s. My reading of scenes of aeromobility in the text corpus draws attention to the anxious aspects of the air travel of unaccustomed travelers and African newcomers traveling to the former colonial center, and explores the formal functions of representations of aeromobility in terms of narrative structures and tropes.
Anna-Leena Toivanen is Academy Research Fellow and docent in postcolonial literary studies at the University of Eastern Finland. Her current research project focuses on the poetics of mobility in Francophone African literatures. She has published in journals such as Studies in Travel Writing, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Research in African Literatures, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Matatu, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, and Francosphères. Her monograph Mobilities and Cosmopolitanisms in African and Afrodiasporic Literatures is forthcoming in 2021 (Brill). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org