My dissertation titled Bodied Knowledges (Where Our Blood Is Born): Maternal Narratives and Articulations of Black Women's Diaspora Identity is an intervention in black diasporic criticism and black feminism. It highlights black women's diaspora literature, maternal narratives, and interrogations of identity. I employ a black feminist diaspora literary lens to identify, define, trace, and speak to the African Diaspora as it functions in black women's diaspora fiction and informs our understanding of black women's diaspora identity. My study considers three authors and novels by women of, in, and across the African Diaspora. In my thesis, I center Sandra Jackson-Opoku's The River Where Blood Is Born as a primary site of analysis of diaspora formation and theorization, and I examine Dionne Brand's At the Full and Change of the Moon and Maryse Condé's Desirada as comparative textual and theoretical sites. I contend that black women writers, with a certain intentionality, use their novels to articulate a woman-centered generationality located inside and throughout the African Diaspora, doing so in order to theorize both the structure of that diaspora and black women's identity within and as part of it. To address this theory, I focus on motherhood / mothering, a common role associated with women, and name and discuss specific maternal narratives as sites through which to delineate and interrogate the intersection of identity and Diaspora. Drawing on specific diaspora frameworks, such as that proposed by Kim Butler in "Defining Diaspora, Refining a Discourse" and Brent Hayes Edwards in "The Uses of Diaspora", I conduct a close examination of the primary novels, addressing the maternal discourse and the Diaspora construction in each. Moreover, these texts are woman-centered, which, I argue, re-locates diaspora from a traditionally male-centered and male-dominated situated-ness to one that focuses on black women's readings of and experiences within the Diaspora.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2010. Major: Feminist Studies. Advisors: Dr. Amy K. Kaminsky and Dr. Gwendolyn D. Pough. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 212 pages.
Crump, Helen J..
Bodied knowledges (where our blood is born): maternal narratives and articulations of black women's diaspora identity.
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