In this Book

Difficult Diasporas
In this comparative study of contemporary Black Atlantic women writers, Samantha Pinto demonstrates the crucial role of aesthetics in defining the relationship between race, gender, and location. Thinking beyond national identity to include African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Black British literature, Difficult Diasporas brings together an innovative archive of twentieth-century texts marked by their break with conventional literary structures. These understudied resources mix genres, as in the memoir/ethnography/travel narrative Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston, and eschew linear narratives, as illustrated in the book-length, non-narrative poem by M. Nourbese Philip, She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. Such an aesthetics, which protests against stable categories and fixed divisions, both reveals and obscures that which it seeks to represent: the experiences of Black women writers in the African Diaspora.
Drawing on postcolonial and feminist scholarship in her study of authors such as Jackie Kay, Elizabeth Alexander, Erna Brodber, Ama Ata Aidoo, among others, Pinto argues for the critical importance of cultural form and demands that we resist the impulse to prioritize traditional notions of geographic boundaries. Locating correspondences between seemingly disparate times and places, and across genres, Pinto fully engages the unique possibilities of literature and culture to redefine race and gender studies.
Samantha Pinto is Assistant Professor of Feminist Literary and Cultural Studies in the English Department at Georgetown University.
In the American Literatures Initiative

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. 6-7
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Introduction: The Feminist Disorder of Diaspora
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. 1 The World and the “Jar”: Jackie Kay and the Feminist Locations of the African Diaspora
  2. pp. 18-43
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  1. 2 It’s Lonely at the Bottom: Elizabeth Alexander, Deborah Richards, and the Cosmopolitan Poetics of the Black Body
  2. pp. 44-76
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  1. 3 The Drama of Dislocation: Staging Diaspora History in the Work of Adrienne Kennedy and Ama Ata Aidoo
  2. pp. 77-105
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  1. 4 Asymmetrical Possessions: Zora Neale Hurston, Erna Brodber, and the Gendered Fictions of Black Modernity
  2. pp. 106-141
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  1. 5 Intimate Migrations: Narrating “Third World Women” in the Short Fiction of Bessie Head, Zoë Wicomb, and Pauline Melville
  2. pp. 142-174
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  1. 6 Impossible Objects: M. NourbeSe Philip, Harryette Mullen, and the Diaspora Feminist Aesthetics of Accumulation
  2. pp. 175-200
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  1. Coda: The Risks of Reading
  2. pp. 201-208
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 209-231
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  1. References
  2. pp. 233-264
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 265-271
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