Myriam J. A. Chancy’s new book, Autochthonomies: Transnationalism, Testimony, and Transmission in the African Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, March 2020), is described as “a daring new approach to understanding African diasporic culture.” According to the author, the advance copies are available for purchase at the University of Illinois Press website, with the code S20UIP (for a 30% discount). The book is officially out on the shelves on March 9, 2020.
Description (University of Illinois Press): In Autochthonomies, Myriam J. A. Chancy engages readers in an interpretive journey. She lays out a radical new process that invites readers to see creations by artists of African descent as legible within the context of African diasporic historical and cultural debates. By invoking a transnational African/diasporic lens and negotiating it through a lakou or “yard space,” we can see such identities transfigured, recognized, and exchanged. Chancy demonstrates how the process can examine the salient features of texts and art that underscore African/diasporic sensibilities and render them legible. What emerges is a potential for richer readings of African diasporic works that also ruptures the Manichean binary dynamics that have dominated previous interpretations of the material. The result: an enriching interpretive mode focused on the transnational connections between subjects of African descent as the central pole for reader investigation.
A bold challenge to established scholarship, Autochthonomies ranges from Africa to Europe and the Americas to provide powerful new tools for charting the transnational interactions between African cultural producers and sites.
Françoise Lionnet (author of Writing Women and Critical Dialogues: Subjectivity, Gender, and Irony) writes, “In its critique of Western rationality, Enlightenment categories, and hierarchical orderings, this book makes a significant contribution. Chancy uses race and gender theory in smart and provocative ways. Her elucidation of difficult texts and contexts is clear and convincing. The research is well presented, the arguments well developed, and the conclusions intellectually satisfying.”
Myriam J. A. Chancy is the Hartley Burr Alexander Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College. Her books include From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic and Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women.