New Book: “Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora” (on Edwidge Danticat)

Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat (University Press of Mississippi, July 2022), edited by Maia L. Butler, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, and Megan Feifer, is now available.

Description: Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat contains fifteen essays addressing how Edwidge Danticat’s writing, anthologizing, and storytelling trace, (re)construct, and develop alternate histories, narratives of nation building, and conceptions of home and belonging. The prolific Danticat is renowned for novels, collections of short fiction, nonfiction, and editorial writing. As her experimentation in form expands, so does her force as a public intellectual. Danticat’s literary representations, political commentary, and personal activism have proven vital to classroom and community work imagining radical futures. Among increasing anti-immigrant sentiment and containment and rampant ecological volatility, Danticat’s contributions to public discourse, art, and culture deserve sustained critical attention. These essays offer essential perspectives to scholars, public intellectuals, and students interested in African diasporic, Haitian, Caribbean, and transnational American literary studies. This collection frames Danticat’s work as an indictment of statelessness, racialized and gendered state violence, and the persistence of political and economic margins.

The first section of this volume, “The Other Side of the Water,” engages with Danticat’s construction and negotiation of nation, both in Haiti and the United States; the broader dyaspora; and her own, her family’s, and her fictional characters’ places within them. The second section, “Welcoming Ghosts,” delves into the ever-present specter of history and memory, prominent themes found throughout Danticat’s work. From origin stories to broader Haitian histories, this section addresses the underlying traumas involved when remembering the past and its relationship to the present. The third section, “I Speak Out,” explores the imperative to speak, paying particular attention to the narrative form with which such telling occurs. The fourth and final section, “Create Dangerously,” contends with Haitians’ activism, community building, and the political and ecological climate of Haiti and its dyaspora.

Contributors include Cécile Accilien, Maria Rice Bellamy, Gwen Bergner, Olga Blomgren, Maia L. Butler, Isabel Caldeira, Nadège T. Clitandre, Thadious M. Davis, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, Laura Dawkins, Megan Feifer, Delphine Gras, Akia Jackson, Tammie Jenkins, Shewonda Leger, Jennifer M. Lozano, Marion Christina Rohrleitner, Thomás Rothe, Erika V. Serrato, Lucía Stecher, and Joyce White.

MAIA L. BUTLER is assistant professor of African American literature at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she is also affiliate faculty in women’s and gender studies and Africana studies. She is a literary geographer researching and teaching in African American/diasporic, Anglophone postco-lonial, and American (broadly conceived) studies, with an emphasis on Black women’s literature and feminist theories.

JOANNA DAVIS-MCELLIGATT is assistant professor of Black literary and cultural studies in the Department of English at the University of North Texas, where she is affiliate faculty in women’s and gender studies. She is coeditor of Narratives of Marginalized Identities in Higher Education: Inside and Outside the Academy.

MEGAN FEIFER is assistant professor of English at Medaille College in New York. Her research and teaching addresses Afro-Caribbean diasporas in the US, multiethnic literatures, postcolonial literature and theory, and feminist theories.

Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat, edited by Maia L. Butler, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, and Megan Feifer (University Press of Mississippi) ISBN 978-1-4968-3988-6

For more information or review copies contact: Jordan Nettles Rueff, Publicity and Promotions Manager (601) 351-5123

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