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African Diasporic Women's Narratives

Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship

Simone A. James Alexander

Publication Year: 2014

Using feminist and womanist theory, Simone Alexander takes as her main point of analysis literary works that focus on the black female body as the physical and metaphorical site of migration. She shows that over time black women have used their bodily presence to complicate and challenge a migratory process often forced upon them by men or patriarchal society.

Through in-depth study of selective texts by Audre Lorde, Edwidge Danticat, Maryse Condé, and Grace Nichols, Alexander challenges the stereotypes ascribed to black female sexuality, subverting its assumed definition as diseased, passive, or docile. She also addresses issues of embodiment as she analyses how women’s bodies are read and seen; how bodies “perform” and are performed upon; how they challenge and disrupt normative standards.

A multifaceted contribution to studies of gender, race, sexuality and disability issues, African Diasporic Women’s Narratives engages with a range of issues as it grapples with the complex interconnectedness of geography, citizenship, and nationalism.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

...I have relied on the good will and generosity of relatives, friends, and colleagues during the undertaking of this project. Thanks to Carole Boyce Davies for her unwavering encouragement and endorsement. She was one of the first persons who underscored the manifest potential in my work on Grace...

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Introduction: Dis-Embodied Subjects Writing Fire

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pp. 1-19

...A few years ago at a seminar on “Health and Bodies,” I had the good fortune of sharing my work on Audre Lorde with fellow participants. By all accounts, the seminar was successful; the seminarians offered meaningful suggestions and feedback...

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1 Captive Flesh No More: Saartjie Baartman, Quintessential Migratory Subject

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pp. 20-38

...South African Saartjie Baartman has been the focus of much scholarly publication and ongoing academic debate over the past few years. Specifically, her migratory journey from Africa to Europe and then her posthumous return to Africa have garnered much attention, gracing the pages of academic books...

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2 “Crimes against the Flesh”: Politics and Poetics of the Black Female Body

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pp. 39-67

...Addressing the downward spiral of black women induced by various ailments, including cancer and drug addiction, Evelyn C. White bemoans that illnesses have rendered them powerless, resulting not only in their lack of citizen rights...

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3 Framing Violence: Resistance, Redemption, and Recuperative Strategies in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

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pp. 68-95

...One cannot help but notice the manifest violence in Caribbean women’s writing and black women’s writing in general that renders the cliché “violence begets violence” effective. Stuart Hall, among other theorists, historicizes this violence, locating...

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4 Mothering the Nation: Women’s Bodies as Nationalist Trope in Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory

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pp. 96-126

...While the overriding concern in this chapter is to illustrate how women’s bodies are used to promote and reinforce a nationalist cum masculinist agenda and how they resist, it would be remiss to dismiss the pervasive “othering” of the Haitian body as a whole. In its biological, social, and political context...

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5 Performing the Body: Transgressive Doubles, Fatness and Blackness

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pp. 127-158

...When questioned at a poetry reading by a British audience of women about her representative female characters, Guyanese-born poet Grace Nichols refutes black female victimhood. This response not only draws attention to the prevailing...

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6 Bodies and DisEase: Finding AlterNative Cure, Assuming AlterNative Identity

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pp. 159-192

...Underscoring the importance of a multifaceted community-based model of health care, Ann Folwell Stanford acknowledges that the “institution of medicine is only a part, albeit an important part, of a more far-reaching health care enterprise...


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pp. 193-210


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pp. 211-226


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pp. 227-239

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048871
E-ISBN-10: 0813048877
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049823

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 879948953
MUSE Marc Record: Download for African Diasporic Women's Narratives

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism.
  • African American women in literature.
  • Human body in literature.
  • American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
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