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Mothering across Cultures

Mothering across Cultures: Postcolonial Representations

Angelita Reyes
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Mothering across Cultures
    Book Description:

    Blending the personal and the historical, the practical and the theoretical, Angelita Reyes draws on a wide range of texts from Africa and the African diaspora to establish mothering as a paradigm of progressive feminisms. Reyes creates a comparative dialogue among the fictions of five postcolonial women writers: Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Jean Rhys, and Mariama Bâ.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8550-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: I’m Not Mad, I’m Postcolonial, a Woman, and a Mother
    (pp. 1-32)

    The title of this introduction, “I’m Not Mad, I’m Postcolonial, a Woman, and a Mother,” is, in part, inspired from a line in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1848 poem, “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point.” After killing her baby girl (an issue of rape) the protagonist, a fugitive slave mother, exclaims, “I am not mad, I am black.” She asserts that her racial heritage is not the reason or substitute for irrationality. To what extent should we have compassion for a slave mother who, out of desperation, commits infanticide and then suicide? Browning wrote the poem for the abolitionist cause in...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Taking Flight and Taking Foot: From Margaret Garner to Beloved
    (pp. 33-77)

    The year is 1803. A group of African slaves has arrived on the shores of Georgia. Some are from Ouida and Abomey, but the majority are Igbo. They were shipmates during the horrendous voyage, despite their different languages and ancestors. For many weeks they had shared the same nightmares and the same unheard-of suffering. They don’t know where they are—this place is as frightening as the black hull of stench that they were coming from. The noise and the strange languages of the men who have captured them increase as they disembark from theEsperance,the vessel that brought...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Surrogate Mothering: Maroon Nanny, Jean Rhys, and Marronage
    (pp. 78-112)

    Among the enclaves of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, the Maroon people continue to tell stories about an eighteenth-century woman called Maroon Nanny. Mr. Sterling, a Jamaican Maroon who lives in Moore Town, told me one of the stories of Nanny that encodes the diasporic motif of the flying Africans: “She dead of old age. She ambushed. She ain’t dead ’causeshe could fly.But den some dem say, when she dead, three coffins dem make and her body place in one, rocks in de others. She not dere where dem say. She left here and still her—flyin.”¹ Again,...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Refusing to Live on Scent: Textures of Memory by Way of Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle
    (pp. 113-141)

    Here on the West Indian island of St. Thomas, a certain Negro woman writes a letter to our Queen of Denmark:

    Nú is ons hope, de konings Majestait ons sal die order geven, dat ons dúrf voortgaan te leeren den Heere Jesus. Ons staan vast tot noch toe, als het God den Heere geliest, schon ons seer gedrukt [sic] word van all, en komen ons slagen en kappen, as ons by den Heyland leert, en Boek verbranden, en doop Honde Doop noemen, en Broeders Beesten, en Neger moet niet zaalig worden, een gedoopt Neger is Brandhout in de Hell. En...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Crossing Bridges and Memory-Telling: Une si longue lettre
    (pp. 142-171)

    With the arrival of the new millennium, the progeny of the flying Africans continue to bridge black Atlantic cultures and connect back to the homelands of the ancestors. Our transatlantic crossings are tied to memory, identity, transformation, and transmission. We are the definers. From one side of the Atlantic to the other, we’ve exchanged our music, culinary arts, performing arts, literature, and haute couture from jeans to kente and bogolan. Our Atlantic cultures are mutually exchanged through Internet technology, intermarriages, and multilingual fluency. The crossings evoke fiction and real-life experiences. There are mythic memories of Africa that the ancestors left...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE From a Lineage of Southern Women: She Has Left Us Empty and Full of Her
    (pp. 172-192)

    Our diversities, our ways of knowing and mothering continue. There are no conclusions—the dialogues continue. Autobiographical memory and ways of thinking have influenced the presentation of this study and narrative.

    In my introduction, I discussed salient issues on mothering across cultures. We have the roles of representation and transformation that enable the foundations of our future. The women writers that I have presented here testify directly and indirectly to the significance of the postcolonial moment—history, gender awareness, class, and the diver- sity of cultures. The moment celebrates our ethnicities. From Mary Magdalene’s slave narrative to personal narratives and...

  10. APPENDIX A Legacies of Margaret Garner
    (pp. 193-204)
  11. APPENDIX B From Periodical Accounts Relating to the Missions of the Church of the United Brethren Established among the Heathen XIII: 486—87. 1739
    (pp. 205-206)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 207-218)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-238)
  14. Index
    (pp. 239-244)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 245-245)