Writing from the Rift (Open Access)

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ISBN: 9788865428627
Cosmopolitanism and the Multiracial Condition in Rebecca Walker, Barack Obama, and Mat Johnson
Autrice: Agnese Marino
ISBN 978-88-6542-862-7
Pagine: 272
Anno: 2022
Formato: 15 x 21 cm
Collana: Le balene, 12
Supporto: file PDF (2.3 Mb)
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In the U.S. cultural universe, black/white biracial subjects are often compared to bridges connecting incommunicable worlds. But such a dichotomous image proves inadequate to represent the lived complexities of transracial relationships—the interconnected histories and cultural heritages, the ghost of compromise, the discrepancy between body and identities, the power asymmetries, the collective fears and resentments, and the sense of placelessness that frequently mark the mixed-race experience in the U.S.A.. Analyzing three renowned multiracial self-narratives published at the turn of the millennium—Rebecca Walker’s Black White and Jewish, Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, and Mat Johnson’s Loving Day—this work explores the challenges of biracialism through the alternative image of the rift: an intimate narrative space/non-space where the secret, unspeakable continuity between the black and white worlds emerges from the fractures and gaps of the text. With a focus on the authors’ travels abroad, it also unveils the links between the condition of never feeling at home and the cultivation of a planetary sense of humanness and responsibility which evokes a neo-cosmopolitan ethos.

Agnese Marino is a Research Fellow at the University of L’Aquila. She graduated in Comparative Literature from the University of Naples “L’Orientale.” Her M.A. thesis, about post-ethnicism in contemporary U.S. literature, was awarded the Agostino Lombardo Prize by the Italian Association of North-American Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the American Studies program at the University of Heidelberg, with a dissertation on the influence of new cosmopolitanism on post-civil rights biracial authors. She has published articles in RSA Journal and Iperstoria. Her main research interests are cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, post-ethnicism/post-identity theory, multiracial identity and literature, autobiography, utopia and heterotopia.




I. An Ethical Question
II. Sketching the Rift
III. Blurring Borders
IV. New Cosmopolitanism and the Critique of American Multiculturalism
V. Multiracial Experience as a Cosmopolitan Experience
VI. A Mixed-Race Cosmopolitanism
VII. A Cosmopolitan Reading

Chapter 1
The case of multiracialness: contemporary reflections on a controversial subject
1.1 Racial Identities and Political Commitment
1.2 The Loving Generation Between Dominant Narratives and Counter-Narratives
1.3 Early Steps of Multiracial Literature
1.4 From Children of the Movement to Adults on the Move: A Generational Matter
1.5 Looking Beyond Borders: Multiracialness and the Transnational
1.6 Towards a Cosmopolitan Critical Approach

Chapter 2
Autobiographical acts and the new cosmopolitan “i”
2.1 Autobiography as a Cosmopolitan Literary Genre
2.2 The Ethics of (Autobiographical) Identities
2.3 Ambiguities in Mixed-Race Self-Narration and the Representation of the Cosmopolitan Experience
2.4 Autobiography: Postmodern and Postcolonial Perspectives
2.4.1 The Disintegration of the Autobiographical Genre
2.4.2 Impossible Self-Narrations and the Cosmopolitan Identity
2.5 Intersubjectivity As a Space of Encounter
2.6 Black White and Jewish, Dreams from My Father, and Loving Day as New Cosmopolitan Autobiographies
2.6.1 Emotions as a Place of Encounter in Black White and Jewish
2.6.2 Rational Self-Reconstruction in Dreams from My Father
2.6.3 Autobiography as an Ethical Act in Loving Day
2.7 Some Terminological Remarks: Autobiography, Memoir, and Autobiographical Novel

Chapter 3
Redefining home in rebecca walker’s black white and jewish. Autobiography of a shifting self
3.1 Shifting Memories: Introducing Rebecca’s Story
3.2 The Movement Child’s Displacement: Family, Community, and Humanity
3.2.1 A Movement Child
3.2.2 A Generational Matter
3.3 Cosmopolitanism and the Complications of Home
3.4 Performativity as Self-Relocation in Context
3.5 Rebecca Abroad: A New, Cosmopolitan Consciousness
3.5.1 The Monkeys’ Council
3.5.2 The Cameroonian Soldier
3.5.3 The Sacred Pool
3.6 Back Home: A Cosmopolitan Language
3.7 The “Bloodwater” Approach

Chapter 4
Writing from the fissures of race: barack h. obama’s dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance
4.1 A Worldly, Scattered Life: Introducing Barack’s Story
4.2 Dreams and Audacity: Two Works, Two Narrators
4.3 A Double Cosmopolitanism
4.4 A Cosmopolitan Rhetoric
4.5 The Cosmopolitan Condition: From Bridges to Rifts
4.6 Imagined Origins
4.6.1 Into the Rift of Space and Time: Obama’s Hawaii
4.6.2 Into the Rift of Languages: Performative Translations
4.6.3 Into the Rift of Races: The Black/Non-Black Man
4.7 Exploring the Rift: The Great Rift Valley
4.7.1 The Safari
4.8 On the Fathers’ Graves: In Search of a New Language

Chapter 5
Cosmopolitan irony in mat johnson’s loving day: a novel
5.1 A Neighborhood, A World: Introducing Warren’s Story
5.2 Mixedness and Blackness in Loving Day
5.3 A Chaos of Colors and Labels
5.4 Racial Parochialism vs. Rational Cosmopolitanism
5.5 Between Subjective and Universal, Attachment and Detachment: Towards a Cosmopolitan Irony
5.6 A Hallucinated Reality: The Absurd in Loving Day
5.7 Cosmopolitan Irony as a Reaction to the Absurd
5.8 Redefinition of Home and the Rift in Loving Day
5.9 A Post-Travel Narrative
5.10 Centrifugal Forces

A look backward (and forward)
Works cited

Iperstoria, n. 22 (2023)

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