Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-xxiv

In the epilogue to The Postsouthern Sense of Place in Contemporary Fiction (2005), I called for contemporary southern literary studies to go “against the Agrarian grain” that for decades dominated the field and to take “the transnational turn” ascendant in American studies. In the final paragraph, I stated my belief “that writers will emerge from the region’s new transnational populations to rewrite ‘the South’ again in unexpected and exciting ways.”1 In Where the New World Is: Literature about the U.S. South at Global Scales, I consider how...

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INTRODUCTION The Transnational Turn in the South

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pp. 1-27

On June 23, 2011, CNN’s Freedom Project against “Modern-Day Slavery” ran a report about a group of Thai farmers who had paid $9,300 each to recruiters for the multinational corporation Global Horizons, which supplies agricultural workers to U.S. farms under the Department of Labor’s H-2A Temporary Agricultural Employment of Foreign Workers program. The Thai nationals were flown from Bangkok via Los Angeles to Hawaii, where their passports were confiscated and they were forced to work for eight hours a day without...

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CHAPTER ONE The Extended South of Black Folk: Intraregional and Transnational Migrant Labor in the Writing of Zora Neale Hurston

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pp. 28-52

In summer 1958, at the instigation of a white friend in Fort Pierce, journalist Margaret Silver, Zora Neale Hurston began writing the first installment in a proposed series of articles for the Miami Herald. Entitled either “The Migrant Worker in Florida” or “Florida’s Migrant Farm Worker,” the typescript drafts demonstrate Hurston’s keen awareness that the long-established role of migrant labor in Florida agriculture was being modernized in accordance with its vital importance to both the state’s economic growth and the nation’s food...

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CHAPTER TWO Transnational/Intertextual Migrations and U.S. Southern, Danish, and English “Folk” Identities in Nella Larsen’s Fiction

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pp. 53-77

In chapter 1, I argued that critics in (new) southern studies and African American studies have not fully registered the intraregional as well as transnational scales of Zora Neale Hurston’s writing about black labor and migration in the U.S. South. But what if we turn now to another black woman writer from the same era who, like Hurston, was lost to literary history and then recovered as a major figure of the Harlem (rather than Southern) Renaissance? What too if that writer’s representation of the rural South is less amenable than Hurston’s...

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CHAPTER THREE Downsouth, Upsouth, Global South: Migration and the “New World” in John Oliver Killens’s Writing

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pp. 78-105

In a foreword to the 1982 reissue of John Oliver Killens’s debut novel, Youngblood (1954), Addison Gayle argued that “at a point in time when the Afro-American novelist explored, almost exclusively, the northern urban environment”—Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) and James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) being the most prominent examples—“Youngblood returns to the terrain explored so well by Richard Wright and becomes a novel that serves as a symbol of the civil rights movement, then in its infancy.”1 Gayle’s figuration of Killens as a keeper of Wright’s flame, focused on black life in the rural...

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CHAPTER FOUR The North–South Axis of Race, Class, and Migration in Russell Banks’s Fiction

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pp. 106-134

In a 2007 article, Anthony Hutchison offered this opening gambit: “Aside from William Faulkner it is difficult to think of a white twentieth-century American writer who has negotiated the issue of race in as sustained, unflinching and intelligent a fashion as Russell Banks.”1 It might seem an inflated claim when, as J. J. Wylie observed in a 2000 interview with Banks, “there doesn’t seem to be much scholarly attention being paid to your work.” Even following the 1997 film adaptations of Banks’s novels Affliction (1989) and The Sweet Hereafter (1991),...

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CHAPTER FIVE Workings of the Spirit, Spirit of the Workers: Migration, Labor, and the Extended Caribbean in Erna Brodber’s Louisiana

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pp. 135-154

Louisiana (1994), the third novel by Jamaican author Erna Brodber, signifies to dazzling effect upon the life and writing of Zora Neale Hurston and does so more directly and deliberately than Russell Banks’s novels of the previous decade. This has not gone unnoticed by critics: Vera Kutzinski, Shirley Toland-Dix, and Samantha Pinto have offered valuable readings of Louisiana’s intertextual engagement with Hurston. As Kutzinski notes, already in the prologue Louisiana “encourages [the reader] to recognize Zora Neale...

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CHAPTER SIX Neoslavery, Immigrant Labor, and Casino Capitalism in Cynthia Shearer’s The Celestial Jukebox

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pp. 155-175

Cynthia Shearer’s novel The Celestial Jukebox (2005) reworks a familiar southern literary theme: the transformation of a rural, agricultural community—the fictional Mississippi Delta hamlet of Madagascar—by capitalist modernity. What makes Shearer’s novel so powerful is its complex engagement with the social and demographic shifts generated by contemporary economic globalization and immigration. Prominent strands of the narrative focus on the arrival of immigrants from both south of the U.S. South (Honduras and Mexico)...

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CHAPTER SEVEN Southern Transpacific: Narratives of Asian Immigration, 1965–2015

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pp. 176-195

The trajectories of transnational migration to and sometimes from the U.S. South upon which Where the New World Is has focused are primarily hemispheric (the Caribbean and Latin America in Hurston, Banks, Brodber, and Shearer) and transatlantic/black Atlantic (Europe in Larsen; Africa in Shearer and Brodber). Within transnational American studies, however, there has been increased attention to the transpacific. In his contribution to Imagining Our Americas: Toward a Transnational Frame (2007), Rob Wilson called for another...

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EPILOGUE Transnational American Studies with “the South”: Morrison, Matthiessen, Eggers, and Lalami

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pp. 196-214

Throughout Where the New World Is, we have seen how numerous authors born outside the U.S. South (Nella Larsen, Russell Banks, Cynthia Shearer) and the United States (Erna Brodber, Monique Truong, Lan Cao, Ha Jin, Brittani Sonnenberg) have followed a seemingly familiar Faulknerian imperative to “tell about the South.” Notwithstanding the Quentissential fallacy that “you would have to be born there,” these writers have been narrating “the South” since modern southern literature was invented via the fabled Faulkner-led...

NOTES

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pp. 215-248

WORKS CITED

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pp. 249-268

INDEX

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pp. 269-281