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Close kin and distant relatives : the paradox of respectability in Black women's literature

Author: Susana M Morris
Publisher: Charlottesville ; London : University of Virginia Press, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The "black family" in the United States and the Caribbean often holds contradictory and competing meanings in public discourse: on the one hand, it is a site of love, strength, and support; on the other hand, it is a site of pathology, brokenness, and dysfunction that has frequently called forth an emphasis on conventional respectability if stability and social approval are to be achieved. Looking at the ways in  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Susana M Morris
ISBN: 9780813935492 0813935490 9780813935508 0813935504
OCLC Number: 852488396
Description: x, 178 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction-Family matters --
A wide confraternity: diaspora and family in Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the widow --
Sins of the mother?: ambivalence, agency, and the family romance in Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John --
Daughters of this land: genealogies of resistance in Edwidge Danticat's Breath, eyes, memory --
The language of family: talking back to narratives of Black pathology in Sapphire's Push --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Susana M. Morris.

Abstract:

The "black family" in the United States and the Caribbean often holds contradictory and competing meanings in public discourse: on the one hand, it is a site of love, strength, and support; on the other hand, it is a site of pathology, brokenness, and dysfunction that has frequently called forth an emphasis on conventional respectability if stability and social approval are to be achieved. Looking at the ways in which contemporary African American and black Caribbean women writers conceptualize the black family, Susana Morris finds a discernible tradition that challenges the politics of respectability by arguing that it obfuscates the problematic nature of conventional understandings of family and has damaging effects as a survival strategy for blacks. The author draws on African American studies, black feminist theory, cultural studies, and women's studies to examine the work of Paule Marshall, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, and Sapphire, showing how their novels engage the connection between respectability and ambivalence. These writers advocate instead for a transgressive understanding of affinity and propose an ethic of community support and accountability that calls for mutual affection, affirmation, loyalty, and respect. At the core of these transgressive family systems, Morris reveals, is a connection to African diasporic cultural rites such as dance, storytelling, and music that help the fictional characters to establish familial connections. --Provided by publisher.

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Close Kin and Distant Relatives deserves a place on the shelf of any scholar or enthusiast of Black women's literature. Morris's writing is accessible to the non-specialist, and yet her insight will Read more...

 
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