The Amalek Factor: Child Soldiers and the Impossibility of Representation

Kenneth W Harrow


Both Judith Butler and Jacques Rancière call into question the feasibility, ethics, and aesthetic possibilities of representation, especially in depictions of what would seem to be most horrendous. Their views on representation are crucial for our understanding of the recent spate of child-soldier narratives in film or literature. In reading Butler alongside Beah, Abani, and others, the figure of Amalek is evoked. Amalek is the Biblical figure whom God orders the Israelites to remember to forget. In that injunction the paradoxical notions of the face and of representational art are brought into contradictory focus.


representation; child-soldier; African literature; African cinema

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