New Book: Writing the Black Diasporic City in the Age of Globalization

Congratulations to Carol Bailey, who examines urban spaces and experiences in literature, film, and popular culture in Writing the Black Diasporic City in the Age of Globalization; published in December 2022 by Rutgers University Press. [Many thanks to the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: Writing the Black Diasporic City in the Age of Globalization theorizes the city as a generative, “semicircular” social space, where the changes of globalization are most profoundly experienced. The fictive accounts analyzed here configure cities as spaces where movement is simultaneously restrictive and liberating, and where life prospects are at once promising and daunting. In their depictions of the urban experiences of peoples of African descent, writers and other creative artists offer a complex set of renditions of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Black urban citizens’ experience in European or Euro-dominated cities such as Boston, London, New York, and Toronto, as well as Global South cities such as Accra, Kingston, and Lagos—that emerged out of colonial domination, and which have emerged as hubs of current globalization.

Writing the Black Diasporic City draws on critical tools of classical postcolonial studies as well as those of globalization studies to read works by Ama Ata Aidoo, Amma Darko, Marlon James, Cecil Foster, Zadie Smith, Michael Thomas, Chika Unigwe, and other contemporary writers. The book also engages the television series Call the Midwife, the Canada carnival celebration Caribana, and the film series Small Axe to show how cities are characterized as open, complicated spaces that are constantly shifting. Cities collapse boundaries, allowing for both haunting and healing, and they can sever the connection from kin and community, or create new connections.

CAROL BAILEY is an associate professor in the English department at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. She is the author of A Poetics of Performance: The Oral-Scribal Aesthetic in Anglophone Caribbean Fiction and co-editor (with Stephanie McKenzie) of Pamela Mordecai’s A Fierce and Green Place (2022). 

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