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