African Diasporic Women's Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship

African Diasporic Women's Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship

African Diasporic Women's Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship

African Diasporic Women's Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship

Synopsis

Winner of the College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award

"Brilliant. Alexander helps us to understand the complexities of race, gender, sexuality, migration, and identity as they intersect with creativity. A must-read for those interested in women's writing today."--Renée Larrier, author of Autofiction and Advocacy in the Francophone Caribbean

"Critically engages current topical issues with sophisticated scholarly readings. There is a tone of the transgressive that gives this work the kind of edge that always provides transcendence."--Carole Boyce Davies, author of Caribbean Spaces

"An authoritative and original study, characterized by meticulously researched scholarship, which focuses on the female body across a fascinating corpus of literary production in the Caribbean and elsewhere. This refreshing and effective interdisciplinary approach extends the boundaries of traditional literary analysis."--E. Anthony Hurley, author of Through a Black Veil

Using feminist and womanist theory, Simone Alexander analyzes literary works that focus on the black female body as the physical and metaphorical site of migration. She shows that over time black women have used their bodily presence to complicate and challenge a migratory process often forced upon them by men or patriarchal society.

Through in-depth study of selective texts by Audre Lorde, Edwidge Danticat, Maryse Condé, and Grace Nichols, Alexander challenges the stereotypes ascribed to black female sexuality, subverting its assumed definition as diseased, passive, or docile. She also addresses issues of embodiment as she analyzes how women's bodies are read and seen; how bodies "perform" and are performed upon; how they challenge and disrupt normative standards.

A multifaceted contribution to studies of gender, race, sexuality, and disability issues, African Diasporic Women's Narratives engages a range of issues as it grapples with the complex interconnectedness of geography, citizenship, and nationalism.

Excerpt

They’re treating my resistance to their diagnosis as a personal affront.
But it’s my body and my life and the goddess knows I’m paying
enough for all this, I ought to have a say. I am going to write fire until it
comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes—everywhere. Until it’s
every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!

—Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light

I am even more certain that to create dangerously is also to create
fearlessly, boldly embracing the public and private terrors that would
silence us, then bravely moving forward even when it feels as though
we are chasing or being chased by ghosts.

—Edwidge Danticat, Create Dangerously

A few years ago at a seminar on “Health and Bodies,” I had the good fortune of sharing my work on Audre Lorde with fellow participants. By all accounts, the seminar was successful; the seminarians offered meaningful suggestions and feedback on ways to improve the work. One woman colleague or participant asked, “Who is the intended audience, and how will this project be accepted?” She further constructed “the audience as a class for black feminist theory in which case a discussion of Lorde’s work would be appropriate.” Other participants remarked, “Since you are using black bodies to speak about all bodies, the project fits within a canon of black, feminist political activists/authors.” “If you had someone from another ethnic class, it would be quite different.” “Use different authors . . .

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