Cover

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Frontispiece

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

I am grateful to Chatham University, and specifically to President Esther Barazzone and Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura Armesto, for granting me time and financial support to complete this book. I owe many thanks to my colleagues Bill Lenz, Lynne Bruckner, Sandy Sterner...

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Introduction. African American Watersheds

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pp. 1-29

When I began working on Water and African American Memory: An Ecocritical Perspective, I knew that water was one of the central tropes in the African American literary and historical tradition, but I could not conceive of how timely this project would become. Soon after I embarked...

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1. Between Breath and Death: Transatlantic Memory in Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo and Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust

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pp. 31-59

As a reader, I have traveled with Toni Morrison. I have gone to Shalimar, Virginia, to Lorain, Ohio, to Ruby, Oklahoma, to Danville, Pennsylvania. I have journeyed to the City, the Bottom, Sweet Home, Isle des Chevaliers, Solomon’s Leap, and Up Beach. I have visited 124 Bluestone...

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2. Arteries of the Nation: Rivers of Redemption in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Henry Dumas’s “Ark of Bones”

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pp. 61-82

On January 27, 1856, they walked across the frozen Ohio River to freedom. Margaret Garner and her husband, four children, and in-laws fled Kentucky and, walking on solid water, crossed the river and took shelter in a Cincinnati cabin. The Garners were one of many enslaved groups...

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3. Wetlands, Swamps, and Bayous: Bodies of Resistance in Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou and Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby

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pp. 83-114

Wetlands—bayous, swamps, bogs, and marshes—are liminal geographies shifting between land and water, complicating and defying, in their very beings, categories of identification, thus constructing a trope neither of terra firma nor of strict watercourse. William Mitsch and...

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Conclusion. Mud, Blood, and the Blues: Hurricane Katrina and the Floodwaters of the African Diaspora

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pp. 115-141

Concluding where we started, Hurricane Katrina is a complex ecopolitical issue that echoes, reinforces, and culminates the anchoring tropes of water and embodied trauma that structure this study. To apprehend Katrina, we must return to the transatlantic voyage and the...

Notes

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pp. 143-156

Bibliography

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pp. 157-167

Index

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pp. 169-179