Nationalism and identity: culture and the imagination in a Caribbean diaspora

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University of the West Indies, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 216 pages
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The nation-state of Trinidad and Tobago offers a unique nation-space, as Homi K Bhabha would say, for the study of the forces and ideologies of nationalism. This book reveals how this ethnically diverse nation, independent for less than forty years, has provided fertile ground for the creative tension between the imagination of the writer and the official discourse on nationalism. Harney argues that this discourse has in turn been embedded in a struggle that propelled the nation's story. He explores the influences on the sense of national identity caused by migration and the ethnicization of migrant communities in the cities. Adding to the comparative tone of much of this book, models of nationalism and ethnicity, often based on other societies, are tested against the imaginings of Trinidad by such essayists as VS Naipaul, CLR James, Willi Chen, Valerie Belgrave and Earl Lovelace.

Using the wealth of imaginative literature produced by Trinidadians at home and abroad over the last forty years, together with European-based scholarship on theories of nationalism, this book provides a fascinating understanding of the forging of a national identity.

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Contents

Introduct1on
18
Literary Nationbuilding in
31
Dilemmas of Literary Nationalism Class Struggle
42
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Stefano Harney is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island.