Returns and Redirections in Caribbean Diaspora Literary Politics

‘Tom Say’

Authored by: Rinaldo Walcott

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  June  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415485777
eBook ISBN: 9780203830352
Adobe ISBN: 9781136821745


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Since the publication of Paul Gilroy’s (1993) The Black Atlantic: Double Consciousness and Modernity, debates about diaspora have proceeded unabated. Those debates have centrally focused on who was left out by Gilroy – either in terms of language or linguistic difference, geographic region, gender, sexuality, or some other criteria that sought to challenge the geo-political and anglocentric nature of Gilroy’s intervention into African American Studies or Black Studies in the US from the geo-spacialities of Britain and Europe. Very seldom is it acknowledged that Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic did not set out to map or chart the multiple contours of the black diaspora, or the many black diasporas that exist beyond the Atlantic, but rather it was an exercise and an example of engaging one segment of the black diaspora to shed some light on some of its workings. By offering this interpretation, I do not mean to provide excuses for the flaws of The Black Atlantic, but to provide a frame of reference that might allow us to grapple with the book’s enormous contribution to black diaspora studies over the last decade and a half.

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