Double Blackness in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Dr. Osman Hassan Osman, Dr. Mahmoud Abuoaf, Dr. Met'eb Ali Alnwairan


This paper examines the idea of double blackness and its role in constructing the Sudanese social hierarchy in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North (1969). The article draws on several core concepts in postcolonial and anthropological studies, including race, culture, ethnicity, and Otherness. Instead of tackling the novel from the traditional postcolonial perspective, the paper adds an anthropological lens to the novel’s social dynamics to shed light on some neglected aspects like the multiplicity of Sudanese racial identity and its subsequent self-awareness. The discussion we present in this paper poses some problematic questions about the meaning of blackness and the presence of multiple layers of the Black Self in Sudanese society. Away from the postcolonial implications of the novel, we argue that Salih makes use of the traditional colonial discourse of self vs other and holds a mirror up to the Sudanese society itself. The novel shows that even among African communities where blackness is a norm, blackness and race remain major triggers of polemics and controversies in a very similar manner to what occurs in Western contexts. The new reading of the novel we propose is one that considers the ways in which characters from an “African” origin endure what we call “double Blackness” — the degradation experienced through both discourses of racism and social stratification.

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