Kinship Across the Black Atlantic

BookOpen AccessKinship Across the Black Atlantic

Kinship Across the Black Atlantic

Writing Diasporic Relations

Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines, 23


November 19th, 2019


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Kinship Across the Black Atlantic provides an outstanding analysis of new models and modes of family-making proposed by a range of key contemporary diasporic writers. Drawing upon a wealth of critical discussions of kinship drawn from anthropology, philosophy, feminism, queer studies, and more besides, Gigi Adair pursues a series of dazzling, detailed readings of the literary re-imagining of family-making across the black Atlantic. Ever alert to the pitfalls as well as the possibilities of fictionalising kinship anew, her vibrant analysis valuably uncovers the progressive modes of kinship that diasporic writing daringly and urgently proposes, often by reaching beyond the colonial-crafted constraints of heteronormativity, genealogy and biocentric myths of 'blood'.'
John McLeod, Professor of Postcolonial and Diaspora Literatures, University of Leeds

An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched.
This book considers the meaning of kinship across black Atlantic diasporas in the Caribbean, Western Europe and North America via readings of six contemporary novels. It draws upon and combines insights from postcolonial studies, queer theory and black Atlantic diaspora studies in novel ways to examine the ways in which contemporary writers engage with the legacy of anthropological discourses of kinship, interrogate the connections between kinship and historiography, and imagine new forms of diasporic relationality and subjectivity. The novels considered here offer sustained meditations on the meaning of kinship and its role in diasporic cultures and communities; they represent diasporic kinship in the context and crosscurrents of both historical and contemporary forces, such as slavery, colonialism, migration, political struggles and artistic creation. They show how displacement and migration require and generate new forms and understandings of kinship, and how kinship may be used as an instrument of both political oppression and resistance. Finally, they demonstrate the importance of literature in imagining possibilities for alternative forms of relationality and in finding a language to express the meaning of those relations. This book thus suggests that an analysis of discourses and practices of kinship is essential to understanding diasporic modernity at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Author Information

Gigi Adair is an Assistant Professor at the University of Potsdam.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: Diasporic kinship across the black Atlantic11
Part I: Rewriting anthropology43
1. Postcolonial sabotage and ethnographic recovery in Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother45
2. Destabilizing structuralism in Pauline Melville’s The Ventriloquist’s Tale69
Part II: Historiography and the afterlife of slavery93
3. ‘As constricting as the corset they bind me in to keep me a lady’: colonial historiography in Andrea Levy’s The Long Song95
4. Shattering the flow of history: Dionne Brand’s At the Full and Change of the Moon115
Part III: Queer diasporic relationality139
5. Queer creolization in Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco141
6. Writing self and kin: diasporic mourning in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet161
Conclusion: Diasporic futures?185