Title

"kingston 21": Diaspora, Migrancy And Caribbean Literature

Date of Award

2002

Availability

Article

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Sandra Paquet, Committee Chair

Abstract

My dissertation is a socio-cultural analysis of Caribbean migrant and diaspora fiction in North America and Britain. It responds to the argument that the Caribbean experience is uniformed across geographical spaces, at home and in diaspora. "Kingston 21" is a moniker Jamaicans have used to refer to Miami and New York, acknowledging the large population of Jamaicans residing in these cities. The fictional address constitutes Miami and New York as an extension of Jamaica; on the lips of Jamaicans at home it is said mockingly and with reservation, Miami/New York is almost Jamaica, but not quite. I use this concept, "Kingston 21" to explore the border politics of contemporary Caribbean literature. My dissertation makes three central arguments. One, I position my thesis in dialogue with recent theory that configures the Caribbean as a postmodern, rootless space. Two, I read Caribbean migrant journeys as border crossings which re-inscribe differences between diaspora and home. I focus specifically on identity politics as well as transnational alliances that inform diaspora identities, especially in the lives of second generation migrants. Three, I examine two socio-economic and political practices, remittances and deportation, and explore how they function as tropes in migrant literature. "Kingston 21" forces us to think about the material constraints on movement to the Caribbean experience at home and in diaspora. To posit that the Caribbean is culturally fluid, without boundary and center, puts the complexities of local, diaspora, and in-between perspectives at risk of being theorized as one monolithic Caribbean experience.

Keywords

Literature, Caribbean

Link to Full Text

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