(Re)Mapping the Black Atlantic: Violence, Affect, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Caribbean Women's Migration Literature
Shaw, Barbara L.
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation is a project of literary reclamation, canonical revision, cultural analysis, and interdisciplinary remapping. Drawing on American studies, women's studies, postcolonial studies, and Caribbean studies, particularly performance theory and recent theoretical work on affectivity, it analyzes the negotiations of protagonists who move back and forth between and among cultures and nations, exploring complex possibilities for subjectivity, identity, and citizenship within worlds of domestic and neocolonial violence. Collectively, America's Dream, The Line of the Sun, Geographies of Home, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and The Unbelonging re-map Gilroy's influential theory of the Black Atlantic in three ways: by tracing the legacies of colonization in relation to interpersonal violence; by re-writing national narratives of the metropole from migrant Caribbean women's perspectives; and by including Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, as well as Jamaica, within its purview. While arguing for the complex personhood of these migrant protagonists and elucidating their legacies of pain and healing, alongside their victimization and resistance, this dissertation also provides a materialist analysis of cultural production, examining how these books circulate as objects in the global/local economy of book selling and distribution. Through a small-scale ethnographic study of independent publishers, alongside a material and visual cultural analysis of the book covers, it analyzes the politics of publication and canonization of Caribbean women's literature. By centering the Caribbean and its diaspora in an American Studies project, this dissertation pushes the boundaries of the discipline beyond the examination of cultures in the United States or American imperialism in other nations. (Re)Mapping the Black Atlantic asks not only that the Caribbean be considered part of the Americas, but also that the relational aspects of migration between the Caribbean on the one hand, and the United States and Britain on the other, become part of the new cartographies of American Studies.