Reclaiming Difference: Caribbean Women Rewrite Postcolonialism
In Reclaiming Difference, Carine Mardorossian examines the novels of four women writers--Jean Rhys (Dominica/UK), Maryse Cond (Guadeloupe/USA), Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), and Julia Alvarez (Dominican Republic/USA)--showing how their writing has radically reformulated the meanings of the national, geographical, sexual, and racial concepts through which postcolonial studies has long been configuring difference. Coming from the anglophone, francophone, and hispanophone Caribbean, these writers all stage and identify with transcultural experiences that undermine the usual classification of literary texts in terms of national and regional literatures, and by doing so they challenge the idea that racial and cultural identities function as stable points of reference in our unstable world.
Focusing on the transformations that have taken place in postcolonial studies since the field began to focus on theory, Mardorossian highlights not only how these writers make use of the styles of creolization and hybridity that have dominated Caribbean and postcolonial studies in recent years but also how they distinguish themselves from the movement's leading figures by offering new articulations of the ties that link race and nation to gender and class. She illuminates how these writers extend the notion of hybridity away from racial and cultural differences in isolation from each other to a set of crisscrossing categories that challenge our simpler, normative figurations.
For scholars in postcolonial studies, Caribbean studies, literary feminist studies, and studies in comparative literature, Reclaiming Difference represents a new phase in postcolonial studies that calls for a fundamental rethinking of the field's terminology and assumptions.
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