The African Diaspora & Autobiographics: Skeins of Self and Skin

The African Diaspora & Autobiographics: Skeins of Self and Skin

The African Diaspora & Autobiographics: Skeins of Self and Skin

The African Diaspora & Autobiographics: Skeins of Self and Skin

Excerpt

As a volume, African Diaspora and Autobiographics: Skeins of Self and Skin maps a terrain of Black autobiographical writing across centuries and continents in a gender-balanced way. It serves as a companion reader for the narratives of nine authors: Olaudah Equiano (Nigeria, United States, and Britain), Richard Wright (United States and France), Peter Abrahams (South Africa and Jamaica), George Lamming (Barbados and England), Agostinho Neto (Angola), Harriet Jacobs (United States), Assata Shakur (United States and Cuba), Evelyn Williams (United States), and Audre Lorde (United States and St. Croix). Best suited to classes in African American and African diaspora studies, cultural studies, anti-colonial discourse, literary theories of autobiography, Black womanist theory, and modern multicultural philosophy, the essays are cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. However, even the uninitiated in these areas of study will benefit from the close readings of primary source narratives each essay provides.

I analyze eighteenth- through twentieth-century U.S.-based African American, Caribbean, and continental African autobiographical narratives in two ways. First, I examine the narratives discursively, focusing on how each work shapes the autobiographical self and protests slavery, colonialism, and racism; secondly, I use eclectic literary methods to examine narrative strategies.

Olaudah Equiano's 1789 ex-slave narrative opens the first half of the volume, setting the pace of the narrative strategies and protest themes of the narratives that follow. These works by male authors are organized around the history of Pan African literary exchanges during the 1950s and 1960s:

Richard Wright (1908—1960) published Black Boy in 1945.
Peter Abrahams (1919—present) published Tell Freedom in 1954.

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