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While there is no lack of scholarship on the trans-Atlantic voyage and the Middle Passage as tropes in African diasporic writing, to date there has not been a comprehensive analysis of bodies of water in African American literature and culture.

In Water and African American Memory, Anissa Wardi offers the first sustained treatise on watercourses in the African American expressive tradition. Her holistic approach especially highlights the ways that water acts not only as a metaphorical site of trauma, memory, and healing but also as a material site.

Using the trans-Atlantic voyage as a starting point and ending with a discussion of Hurricane Katrina, this pioneering ecocritical study delves deeply into the environmental dimension of African American writing. Beyond proposing a new theoretical map for conceptualizing the African Diaspora, Wardi offers a series of engaging and original close readings of major literary, filmic, and blues texts, including the works of Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Julie Dash, Henry Dumas, and Kasi Lemmons.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontispiece
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Introduction. African American Watersheds
  2. pp. 1-29
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  1. 1. Between Breath and Death: Transatlantic Memory in Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo and Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust
  2. pp. 31-59
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  1. 2. Arteries of the Nation: Rivers of Redemption in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Henry Dumas’s “Ark of Bones”
  2. pp. 61-82
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  1. 3. Wetlands, Swamps, and Bayous: Bodies of Resistance in Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou and Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby
  2. pp. 83-114
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  1. Conclusion. Mud, Blood, and the Blues: Hurricane Katrina and the Floodwaters of the African Diaspora
  2. pp. 115-141
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 143-156
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 157-167
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 169-179
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813040509
Related ISBN
9780813037455
MARC Record
OCLC
757828921
Pages
186
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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