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A massive uprooting of dualistic thinking in the individual and collective consciousness is the beginning of a long struggle, but one that could, in our best hopes, bring us to the end of rape, of violence, of war. —Gloria Anzaldúa 1987 The Other of the West, the Other of man: one is never installed within marginality, one never dwells outside it. . . . Otherness has its laws and interdictions. It is by assuming the moment of rupture and of negativity that underlies feminist practices, and by questioning everything finite, put forth as a given, or reduced to the simplicity of essences, that these texts open the space for critical difference. What is at stake is not only the hegemony of Western cultures, but also their identities as unified cultures; in other words, the realization that there is a Third World in every First World, and vice-versa. —Trinh T. Minh-ha 1989 Postcolonial Border Writing To understand the works of Orlanda Amarílis, we must first address the author’s national identity and her inscription into a national literature. After all, Amarílis was born in 1924 in colonial Cape Verde at a time when Cape Verdeans were considered citizens of the metropolis.1 A naturalized Portuguese who has been living mainly in Portugal since her marriage to the late writer and critic Manuel Ferreira, she writes narratives that are situated in both the archipelago and the European mainC H A P T E R E I G H T Border Writing, Postcoloniality, and Critical Difference in the Works of Orlanda Amarílis Phyllis Peres 149 land. The seemingly facile question of her national identity—well, is she a Cape Verdean writer? a Cape Verdean born Portuguese writer? a diasporic Cape Verdean writer? a postcolonial Cape Verdean writer?—generally has solicited pat responses. Orlanda Amarílis is unquestioningly called Cape Verdean and/or homogenized into the postcolonial transLusitanian discursive melting pot.2 Orlanda Amarílis was associated with the short-lived journal Certeza (two issues published), but it was only in 1974 that she published her first book of short stories, Cais-do-Sodré té Salamansa. She has since published two other collections, Ilhéu dos pássaros (1983) and Casa dos mastros (1989). All three works were published in Portugal, further complicating the issue of the writer’s national identity. Obviously, this attention to Orlanda Amarílis’s “national identity” calls attention to the larger question of what it means to be a diasporic writer, or a postcolonial border writer. Writing on the border signifies a specific position of subjectivity, and, as Trinh T. Minh-ha reminds us in her work on postcolonial feminism, the recognition of writing as a practice located at the intersection of subject and history.3 In Amarílis’s case, that position straddles borders of nation, race, class, and gender, and her works illustrate the negotiation of identities in the so-called postcolonial world. To call Orlanda Amarílis a postcolonial border writer places her in the context of recent critical work on both border and postcolonial writing . The latter has come under particularly heavy fire as a term that indicates a passage from the colonial past without accounting for colonialism ’s impact on political, social, economic, and cultural relations in the present. Ella Shohat’s “Notes on the Post-Colonial” problematizes the “post” as part of a “narrative or progression in which colonialism remains the central point of reference, in a march of time neatly arranged from the pre to the post, but which leaves ambiguous its relation to new forms of colonialism” (107). Not only does the term postcolonial obscure the continuities of colonialism, but it also implies an uncontested temporal border, which puts the colonial narrative safely in the past while simultaneously privileging it as the center of reference. Writing in the same special issue of Social Text as Shohat, Anne McClintock similarly criticizes postcolonial as a singular term “organized around a binary axis of time rather than power” (88). For McClintock, the term become es150 Phyllis Peres pecially monolithic and unstable in relation to women for whom “postcolonialism has been a history of hopes postponed” (92).4 This criticism of the “post” is especially provocative given the supposedly liberating condition of postcoloniality and, more specifically, the postcolonial subject. By questioning the “liberating” effect of the freedom of formal colonialism, one can then critique the postcolonial period as marked by regenerated colonial relations (neocolonialism).5...


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