Anna-Leena Toivanen

Anna-Leena Toivanen PhD Anna-Leena Toivanen works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu. She obtained her doctorate in 2010 at the University of Jyväskylä with a study on two Zimbabwean writers, Yvonne Vera and Dambudzo Marechera. The study focused on issues of nationhood in the context of the Zimbabwe crisis.

In her ongoing research project, Toivanen studies the tensions of nationhood and globalization in the context of Sub-saharan African women's writing. The study employs a comparative approach by looking into both Anglo- and Francophone African women's literatures.

In her research project, Toivanen’s main interest is in the ways in which contemporary African women’s narratives disturb postnationalist discourses by insisting on keeping the nation on their agenda. Inspired by the writings of Simon Gikandi, the study takes as its starting point the idea that the failures of the postcolonial nation-state should be read as the darker reverse of globalization. Theoretically, the study draws from and contributes to postcolonial studies, as well as gender and globalization studies.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • ”Maa, kansakunta ja alistettu nainen Yvonne Veran romaaneissa Without a Name ja Butterfly Burning.” Naistutkimus 1/2008, 6--17.
  • ”’Hänen henkensä elää’: Dambudzo Marecheran nerous.” Kulttuurintutkimus 26. 2-3 (2009), 31-46.
  • ”Remembering the Nation’s Aching Spots: Yvonne Vera as a Witness and a Healer.” Post-Colonial Text, 5.4. (2010), 1-15.
  • “’At the Receiving End of Severe Misunderstanding’: Representations of Authorship in Dambudzo Marechera’s Work.” Research in African Literatures, 42.1 (2011), 14-31
  • « Celles qui attendent et l’engagement diasporique de Fatou Diome. «  RELIEF Revue Electronique de Littérature Française, 5.1 (2011)
  • “Diasporic Romances Gone Bad: Impossible Returns to Africa in Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane, Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde and Véronique Tadjo’s Loin de mon père.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 49.4 (2013), 432-444.
  • ”Seksiä ja kuolemaa Zimbabwessa: Petina Gappah groteskin kansakunnan raunioilla.”  Kulttuurintutkimus 30.1 (2013), 18-30.
  • ”Daddy’s Girls?: Father-Daughter Relations and the Failures of the Postcolonial Nation-State in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Véronique Tadjo’s Loin de mon père.” ARIEL 44.1 (2013), 99-126.
  • "Such a Great Loss: The Sad Memory of Dambudzo Marechera." Forthcoming (2013) in Journal of Postcolonial Cultures & Societies.

Peer-reviewed book chapters

  • ”Postkoloniaalinen naistekijä? Yvonne Veran tekijyyden tasot.” ”Postkoloniaalinen naistekijä? Yvonne Veran tekijyyden tasot.” In Eeva Haverinen, Tuomo Lahdelma & Erkki Vainikkala (Eds.) Tekijyyden ulottuvuuksia, Univesity of Jyväskylä: 2008. 115--131.
  • ”Writer-Fighter Dambudzo Marechera: Rejecting Ethnic and National Labels.” In Veera Rautavuoma, Urpo Kovala & Eeva Haverinen (Eds.), Cult, Community, Identity, University of Jyväskylä: 2009. 181--194.
  • “Women on the Fringes of the National Community in Yvonne Vera’s Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals.” In Tuuli Lähdesmäki (Ed.) Gender, Nation, Narration. Critical Readings of Cultural Phenomena, University of Jyväskylä: 2010. 65-85.
  • ”Nation as the Persistent Centre of Meaning: Dambudzo Marechera and the Zimbabwe Crisis.” In Joel Kuortti &  O.P. Dwivedi (Eds.), Changing Nations/Changing Worlds: The Concept of Nation in the Transnational Era. Jaipur: Rawat, 2012. 124-147.
  • “Writing Bodies: Yvonne Vera’s Insights into Empowering Female Corporeality” in Helen Cousins & Pauline Dodgson-Katiyo (Eds.), Emerging Perspectives on Yvonne Vera.  Trenton: Africa World Press, 2012. 165-184.
  • “Grotesque Intimacies: Embodiment and the Spirit of Violence in The House of Hunger.” In Grant Hamilton (Ed.), Reading Marechera. Suffolk: James Currey. 2013. 38-56.
  • ”Näkökulma transnationaaliin naisruumiillisuuteen: Paikaltaan olo ja prostituutio Ken Bugulin ja Chika Unigwen romaaneissa Le baobab fou ja On Black Sisters’ Street.” In Hannele Harjunen & Tuija Saresma (Eds.) Sukupuoli nyt! Neuvotteluja ja purkamisia.  Jyväskylä: Kampuskustannus, 2012. 55-67.
  • “Negotiating Belonging: Yvonne Vera’s Politics of Location.” In Esther Alvarez Lopez & Liamar Durán Almarza (Eds.), Diasporic Women's Writing of the Black Atlantic: (En)Gendering Literature and Performance. Routledge: New York: 2013. 165-182.

Unpublished PhD thesis

  • “Negotiating Nationhood and Commitment: Readings of Yvonne Vera's and Dambudzo Marechera's Work and Authorial Image against the Backdrop of Crisis.” An introduction of 93 pages + 8 scientific articles. University of Jyväskylä, Department of Art and Culture Studies, 2010.


Other scientific publications

  • “Cult Figure and Pub Legend: Dialoging on the Legacy of St Dambudzo.” Co-authored with Tinashe Mushakavanhu. In Julie Cairnie &  Dobrota Pucherova (Eds.), Moving Spirit: The Legacy of Dambudzo Marechera.  Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2012.119-123.
  • Review of “‘The Original Explosion That Created Worlds’: Essays on Werewere Liking's Art and Writings.” Postcolonial Text 6.1 (2011), .
  • Lectio praecursoria: “Kirjallisuuden eettinen interventio postkoloniaalin kansakunnan kriisissä.” Kulttuurintutkimus 1/2011.