Images and word-image configurations abound in postcolonial Anglophone literatures. Such visual constellations do not only fulfill decorative functions; rather, they are intriciately connected to power, subjecitivity and knowledge. We will discuss the relations between visual practices and European colonialism and analyse how postcolonial writers mobilise the dynamic of vision as a productive force in the process of cultural decolonisation. How, in other words, do these texts, stare back at the coloniser and how do they turn the gaze?
Moreover, the analysis of visual practices in Anglophone literatures allows us to address key questions of literary and cultural theory: How is the relationship between image and text reflected in literature and where are the limits of words and image to create meaning? How and why do literary texts evoke images, and what processes of aesthetic transformation do intermedial references involve? How do text-image relationships take part in the generation of knowledge and what do they reveal about contemporary media cultures and respective power relations?

In our interdisciplinary discussion of selected novels and poems by Teju Cole (Everyday is for the Thief), Jamaica Kincaid (Lucy), Nurridin Farrah (Hiding in Plain Sight) and Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), we will focus on the politics of vision to explore the relations between being, knowing and seeing.