McClenney Sam McClenney Mr.

Arnold Global Connections Thursday, May 12, 2011 Cultural Globalization in Fuller In “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” Alexandra Fuller tells a tale of change in Africa that occurs over her lifetime. This change occurs through the form of cultural globalization. However what does that really mean? Manfred Steger said, “Cultural globalization refers to the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe. Obviously, ‘culture’ is a very broad concept; it is frequently used to describe the whole of human experience”( 71). Culture covers so many aspects of humanity that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few things. However a couple of good examples of cultural globalization occur early on in the book as African schools become integrated. There are also examples of White-Africans trying to slow down globalization to no avail. Through all of these situations Bobo often has to face tough adjustments. Rosalia Baena says it best when she said, “Reading autobiographies by British subjects who spent their childhood in Africa, Egypt, or India, I will explore the ways these writers expand, modify, reconstruct and validate a new manner of viewing what it means to be ‘‘English’’. As British children growing up in colonies, these writers become


McClenney interpreters of their own ambiguous and ambivalent situation, identifying simultaneously as both British and native, foreign and native, colonizers and colonized, ‘‘betrayers and betrayed’’, as Michael Foss puts it” (435). Baena say’s that children like Bobo will have a unique experience because they learn to identify with two different kinds of people. However as seen by the internal conflict that Bobo sometimes goes too, this identification process isn’t always easy. One example of this conflict in the book is during Bobo’s early years when she is in school. At that time schools were divided up into A, B, and C level schools. White students attended A schools, black students attended C schools and biracial and other races attended B schools. However this all changes when the war is over. After the war ends, the schools become integrated and Bobo is faced with a tough situation as she says, “The blacks laugh at me when they see me stripped naked after swimming or tennis, when my shoulders and arms are angry sunburnt red”(9). While on the surface this is only a minor inconvenience to Bobo, deeper down it is a statement about the direction Africa is heading in. Africa show’s globalization by integrating their schools and leaving the idea of race based schools. However this is a change that brings about a tough adjustment for white students like Bobo. They are no longer in classes with only white students and are now forced into unknown waters where they are outnumbered


McClenney greatly by black students. The name-calling specifically makes Bobo realize just how different she truly is and has her questioning her identity as a White-African. Bobo is eventually sent off to boarding school where she experiences globalization in a similar way. “Chancellor Junior School is an “A” school, for white children only. This means we have over one hundred arose of grounds: a ruby filed, a cricket pitch, hockey fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, an athletics track, a roller-skating rink. After independence, the skating rink is turned into a basketball court and half the athletics track is turned into a soccer pitch. Basketball and soccer are things white children do not do”(139). Here the reader see’s that independence alone caused a big change at this school. Like the school she attended as a kid, this school loses it’s ability to be white only and adapts by changing the athletics fields so that black kids can play “their” sports on them. This alone show’s cultural globalization as independence is causing change among the boarding schools of Africa. This change is in a direction towards being accessible to all races, something that Bobo continually has a hard time accepting. Attempts to slow down globalization are seen as well in the reaction of many White-Africans to the sound of revolution in Rhodesia. It becomes common to have walls and fences protecting your homes. Guard dogs are also a necessity for these types of family’s during this time. The most extreme change though is the effect that the


McClenney revolutions have on weapons. Bobo talks about how her mother carries around an Uzi and her dad goes on patrols with other men like him. This type of change in society is a direct response to cultural globalization as these farming families attempt to stop globalization through force. What’s interesting is how this affects Bobo. She says, “Vanessa and I, like all kids over the age of five in our valley, have to learn how to load an FN rifle magazine, strip and clean all the guns in the house and ultimately, shoot-to-kill. If we are attacked and Mum and Dad are injured or killed, Vanessa and will have to know how to defend ourselves”(74). This matter of fact way of saying things is a true testament to globalizations affect on society. Kid’s think that it is normal to be learning how to load and fire guns, because society has begun to deem it that way during this time. As a continent like Africa progresses through time, a noticeable trend that appears is that it can’t help but change towards a more globally accepting type of place. That is seen through the examples of the schools becoming more integrated. Another trend with globalization is that certain people will not want this change to occur as seen by the White-African farmer’s aggressive response to revolution. From these two conflicting trends comes this question by Amy Skonieczny, “The driving question of such research is why the language of inevitability persists when there are so many examples of contestation and contingency (made apparent by purposeful agency)


McClenney in response to globalization, the very question posed at the outset of this article”(14). While people will put in the effort to stop globalization, it is two much of a natural force to be hindered by anything. Globalization is and will continue to happen at a solid rate. The cultural globalization that takes place during this book is inevitable because it such a natural process. Bobo’s reaction to these changes says a lot about how huge they are to African society. From the identity crisis she get’s from integrated schools, to the odd normalcy she has with holding and fixing guns, one has to agree that while globalization might be obvious, it doesn’t make it any more of a radical change away from society’s norms.


Works Cited B., Manfred. Globalization: a very short introduction. Oxford University Press, USA, 2003. Print. Fuller, Alexandra. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African

McClenney Childhood. Random House Inc, 2003. Print. Baena, Rosalia. "“Not Home but Here”: Rewriting Englishness in Colonial Childhood Memoirs." English Studies 90.4 (2009): 435-459. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 11 May 2011. Skonieczny, Amy. "Interrupting Inevitability: Globalization and Resistance." Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 35.1 (2010): 1-27. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 11 May 2011.