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Reclaiming Difference

Caribbean Women Rewrite Postcolonialism
Carine M. Mardorossian

BUY Cloth · 208 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813923468 · $55.00 · Aug 2005
BUY Paper · 208 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813923475 · $20.00 · Aug 2005

In Reclaiming Difference, Carine Mardorossian examines the novels of four women writers—Jean Rhys (Dominica/UK), Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe/USA), Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), and Julia Alvarez (Dominican Republic/USA)—showing how their writing has radically reformulated the meanings of the national, geographical, sexual, and racial concepts through which postcolonial studies has long been configuring difference. Coming from the anglophone, francophone, and hispanophone Caribbean, these writers all stage and identify with transcultural experiences that undermine the usual classification of literary texts in terms of national and regional literatures, and by doing so they challenge the idea that racial and cultural identities function as stable points of reference in our unstable world.

Focusing on the transformations that have taken place in postcolonial studies since the field began to focus on theory, Mardorossian highlights not only how these writers make use of the styles of creolization and hybridity that have dominated Caribbean and postcolonial studies in recent years but also how they distinguish themselves from the movement’s leading figures by offering new articulations of the ties that link race and nation to gender and class. She illuminates how these writers extend the notion of hybridity away from racial and cultural differences in isolation from each other to a set of crisscrossing categories that challenge our simpler, normative figurations.

For scholars in postcolonial studies, Caribbean studies, literary feminist studies, and studies in comparative literature, Reclaiming Difference represents a new phase in postcolonial studies that calls for a fundamental rethinking of the field’s terminology and assumptions.


"Reclaiming Difference is an important and thought-provoking book. Offering deft and persuasive readings of Maryse Condé, Jean Rhys, Emily Brontë, Edwidge Danticat, and Julia Alvarez, Mardorossian marks out a new—transgenerational, translocal, transracial, translinguistic—analytical territory and makes an important and original contribution to postcolonial and transatlantic studies.

Louise Yelin, Professor of Literature, Purchase College

About the Author(s): 

Carine M. Mardorossian is Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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