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Acknowledgments There are so many people to thank because they have made this journey possible with love and dignity. I thank my parents, June and Aubrey Shields, my aunts Shirley Watts and Hazel Wentt, and my uncles Philip Wentt and Anthony Shields, and my godmother Pauline “Jesse” Ezechiels, all of whom provided for me in material and spiritual ways and encouraged me to pursue dreams of knowing and transforming. My siblings, who never forget and make me laugh and cry and laugh while crying: Tracy, Twain, Tiffany, Renee, Taiwo, and Twanna (and their partners Tanya and Jason, and my nieces and nephews—Alaysia, Jamal, Nasir, Aquil, Gabriel, Gaege, and Cassidy ). I am grateful to be part of this tribe! You all have the ability to help me enjoy my own fallibilities. I value the negotiations of community you have, er, encouraged me to make. To my cousins Rondell Shields, Sasha Williams, Sheena Shields, and Steve Browne for computer expertise and sharing brighter days from Georgetown to Brixton! And to Mary and Ken Lehmann, whose constant care and kindness have made my life easier from the first day we met. Teachers and mentors of all sorts have encouraged, scolded, and made a difference, so therefore I would like to thank my teachers, who, through the years, made me happy to be in school and invited me to explore the world with them. My sincerest thanks to Judith Carroll and the late Patricia Long at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, Hollinger Helliger and Elizabeth McGrath at The Academy of the Holy Names, and Carlos Schröder, Robert Carr, and Virginia Bell at the University of Maryland at College Park, all of whom encouraged me to think critically , reinforced the joy of pushing boundaries, and reminded me of the importance of connecting academic work with struggles for justice. My thanks to Susan Lanser, who envisioned and created a comparative x Acknowledgments literature program that was too radical for the times but continues to inspire years later. I would not have made it without a trinity of scholarsfriends -mentors, all of whom pushed and pulled me through the peaks and valleys of my graduate experience and beyond: Merle Collins (my ever-stoic adviser), whose grace and tact I hope to exemplify one day and whose Zen-like “hmmm” I find myself invoking; A. Lynn Bolles, whose generosity of spirit, intellectual zeal, and energy devotion to showing the ways in which people’s lives offer theories rather than imposing theories on their lives make me breathless; and Dorith Grant-Wisdom, whose “Aha, but let me play devil’s advocate . . .” showed me the joy of teaching the other side and whose passion for justice and dance continues to influence. And to the quiet negotiator, Louise Clement, who taught me the power of generosity at the office. There are so many friends and colleagues who have sustained me in meaningful ways. My deep and abiding thanks to those of you who have read versions of this manuscript, or listened to me puzzle out these ideas, you have all demonstrated a generosity of spirit and intellect that I hope to pay forward: The Noqui Collective has been a space of friendship, laughter, irreverence, and pure delight. My thanks to Anthony Blasingame , Kimberly N. Brown, Shelly Brown Cooke, James Cooke, and my godsons Courtland and Logan, Mavourneen Dolor, Charlene Dougall, Carolyn van Es, Kenyatta Dorey Graves, Gia Harewood, Randi Gray Kristensen, Ming Leung, Bob Mondello, Richelle Patterson, Kathrynne Homicile Paul, Patricia J. Saunders, Renee Shea, April and Stan Shemak , Tanya Shirley, Seth Clark Silberman, Audrey Stewart, Detannyia Towner, Belinda Wallace, and Gwyn Weathers. Thank you for discussing , dancing, reading, and reassuring. In North Carolina, robust friendships and generous colleagues have enhanced the charms of the all-together-forward-not-one-step-back Tar Heel state. William Darity, Jr., has always encouraged and entertained me, especially when there are conversations on speculative fiction or music to be had. My community of scholars and friends (NC Aunties!) continues to mentor and share insights and care, particularly Marlyn Allicock, Kia Lilly Caldwell, Jerma Jackson, Eunice Sahle, Karla Slocum, Karolyn Tyson, Heather A. Williams, Lyneise Williams, and Yolonda Wilson. Words cannot express my deep and abiding gratitude. Michaeline Crichlow, Claudia Milian, and Pat Northover have been particularly generous, tireless, and invaluable supports throughout this process, with raucous philotudinal discussions and laughter in the best tradition of Caribbean intellectualism. xi Acknowledgments To my departmental colleagues, particularly Barbara Harris, who saw my potential, Joanne...


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