Investigating Postcolonial Affective Online Communities: A Computational Analysis of Reader Reviews for Contemporary Nigerian Fiction


  • Hannah Pardey University of Hannover


affective algorithms, CADS & keyword analysis, digital audience research, new Nigerian novel, online literary communities


The chapter approaches postcolonial affect through the combined perspectives of postcolonial and affect studies, audience research and the digital humanities. It examines more than 10,000 online responses to recent Nigerian diasporic novels with various computer-based methods to study the emotion ideologies informing postcolonial reading practices in the World Wide Web. Based on a theoretical and methodological framework covering socio-historical, materialist and linguistic conceptions of community and emotions, the chapter demonstrates how Amazon, Goodreads and YouTube market postcolonial literary consumption by creating affective online communities of locally and ethnically diversified readers who adjust the emotional habitus to the socio-economic demands of the present digital conjuncture. Showing that computational research designs do not exclude but invigorate the study of postcolonial issues, such as domination and subordination or inclusion and exclusion, the results highlight that the online distribution and discussion of contemporary Nigerian fiction serves to sideline national, ethnic and cultural differences for the sake of shared middle-class aspirations.

Author Biography

Hannah Pardey, University of Hannover

Dr. des. Hannah Pardey is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hannover, Germany. She teaches British literatures and cultures from the 16th to the 21st century with a strong focus on Anglophone postcolonial literatures, especially Nigerian and Indian diasporic fiction, and theories and methods of literary and cultural studies. She has published articles and chapters on middlebrow and postcolonial studies, digital reception studies and the history of emotions. Her book Middlebrow 2.0 and the Digital Affect is under contract with Liverpool UP and concerns the material conditions of producing, distributing and consuming the new Nigerian novel online. Her current project, “Wuthering Waters: Maritime Working-Class Movements across the Atlantic, 1800-1900,” examines fictional and non-fictional texts to reconstruct the everyday practices of resistance of the 19th-century transatlantic working classes.