The Transnational Feminist Aesthetic of the Black Atlantic
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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I feel like I have had such a charmed intellectual existence that I do not know where to begin expressing gratitude for the writing of this book. I suppose a sort of intellectual history would organize it as well as any: At Rutgers, I had the good fortune of stumbling into classes with some of the smartest, most generous professors and peers I have found since: ...
Introduction: The Feminist Disorder of Diaspora
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There is nothing more tentative, nothing more empirical (superficially, at least) than the process of establishing an order among things; nothing that demands a sharper eye or a surer, better-articulated language; nothing that more insistently requires that one allow oneself to be carried along by The new order didn’t affect only poetry. It also affected history, sociology, ...
1 The World and the “Jar”: Jackie Kay and the Feminist Locations of the African Diaspora
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A letter full of curses, again in Bessie’s handwriting to the manager of the 91 Club in Atlanta. An original record of “Downhearted Blues.” A reject selection of the songs that were never released. A giant pot of chicken stew still steaming, its lid tilted to the side. A photograph of Ethel Waters; un-derneath the sophisticated image Bessie has written: “Northern bitch. Long ...
2 It’s Lonely at the Bottom: Elizabeth Alexander, Deborah Richards, and the Cosmopolitan Poetics of the Black Body
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She never went into battle armed like the rest, but received the bullets of the enemy that were aimed at her, and returned them with fatal effect, in a Jamaica’s mythic folkhero Nanny of the Maroons—famed for a story of catching colonial bullets in her bottom and, as described in the first epi-graph, returning that fire—stands as a contemporary postcolonial and ...
3 The Drama of Dislocation: Staging Diaspora History in the Work of Adrienne Kennedy and Ama Ata Aidoo
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The reality of the African continent and of its varied peoples is made to conform to a lawlikely prescribed pattern. What is more, it is made to do so both before political independence and after political indepen-dence,...both during the colonial era and after the colonial era. Can we therefore speak here...of merely a colonial rationale as the causal factor ...
4 Asymmetrical Possessions: Zora Neale Hurston, Erna Brodber, and the Gendered Fictions of Black Modernity
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It is the lack of symmetry which makes Negro dancing so difficult for white dancers to learn. The abrupt and unexpected changes. The frequent change of key and time are evidences of this quality....Each unit has a rhythm of its own, but when the whole is assembled it is lacking in symme-try. But easily workable to a Negro who is accustomed to the break in go-...
5 Intimate Migrations: Narrating “Third World Women” in the Short Fiction of Bessie Head, Zoë Wicomb, and Pauline Melville
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Third-world women, on the other hand, never rise above the debilitating Erna Brodber, in an essay ruminating on the stakes of realism in litera-ture and beyond in the Caribbean, tells a brief anecdote of Alexander Bedward, a Jamaican man in the early twentieth century who purport-edly tried to fly in emulation of biblical narratives of ascension. Her ...
6 Impossible Objects: M. NourbeSe Philip, Harryette Mullen, and the Diaspora Feminist Aesthetics of Accumulation
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The impossibility of writing epic in our age—innermost epic as distinct from virtuoso performance, epic that alters the surfaces of language—may not be an impossibility after all....Rather claims of impossibility may suggest difficulty in assessing—with an open mind—the emergence of such epic, difficulty in arriving within the medium of a new criticism that ...
Coda: The Risks of Reading
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We experience some sadness—though mixed with some more positive emotions—at the mere confrontation with the notion of African women and writing. Nothing really tragic, and nothing really worthy of jubila-tion either. Certainly however, there is no denying the pathos and wonder in being an African (and a woman) with sensibilities that are struggling ...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013