Abstract

Black Canadian writers have devised various terms to situate themselves and their imagined community in relation to the African motherlands and to map out their black identities on North American soil. Among these labels are “Afrospora” (Marlene NourbeSe Philip), “blacks in the diaspora” (Dionne Brand), “Afroperiphery” (Wayde Compton), and “Africadia” (George Elliott Clarke). Underlying all these concepts is what Rinaldo Walcott has called a “grammar” of blackness, that is, an attempt to examine the different ways black people are racialized in Canada. Starting from these considerations, in this essay I will discuss Lawrence Hill’s nonfictional treatment of Africa alongside his fictional rendering of some parts of the continent and of its inhabitants, as the former throws into relief many aspects of the latter. Bringing them together will provide key information as to how the conceptualization of Africanness functions within Hill’s investigation of racial identities in North America and how it may fit within a black Atlantic model that resists essentialization.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 90-106
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-04
Open Access
No
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