Marking Locality: Inscribing Gendered Subjectivity in Kgebetli Moele’s <i>Untitled</i>


  • Paige Sweet Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape


locality, sexuality, feminine subject position, race, language


This article reads Kgebetli Moele’s Untitled: A Novel (2013) as a distinctive instance of writing locality and feminine subjectivity through experiments with content and form. I draw on postcolonial revisions of Franco Moretti’s paradigm regarding the infusion of “local” contents into the ostensibly “European” form of the novel as well as Arjun Appadurai’s notion of how the circulation of forms and the forms of circulation produce locality. Analyzing the novel’s experiments with language, punctuation, and layout, as well as how the novel engages with African literary imaginaries and global discourses, I offer an alternative to David Attwell’s question about whether black experimental writing in South Africa repeats the subject-construction of European modernism. Contrary to Attwell’s conclusion, I demonstrate how the experimental poetics of Untitled crucially mediates the project of writing a black feminine subject position in the interstices of globality and locality that diverges from the subject positions of European modernism. 

Author Biography

Paige Sweet, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape

Paige Sweet is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. Her research includes contemporary and experimental literature. She wrote a dissertation that analyzes experimental uses of punctuation in literature and film. Underway is a book project that examines how techniques of quotation in contemporary fiction reveal less a compulsion to steal than an altered relationship of information to creative production and regimes of ownership.