Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women’s Literature
Edited by Joy Mahabir, Mariam Pirbhai
Routledge – 2013 – 274 pages
This book is the first collection on Indo-Caribbean women's writing and the first work to offer a sustained analysis of the literature from a range of theoretical and critical perspectives, such as ecocriticism, feminist, queer, post-colonial and Caribbean cultural theories. The essays not only lay the framework of an emerging and growing field, but also critically situate internationally acclaimed writers such as Shani Mootoo, Lakshmi Persaud and Ramabai Espinet within this emerging tradition. Indo-Caribbean women writers provide a fresh new perspective in Caribbean literature, be it in their unique representations of plantation history, anti-colonial movements, diasporic identities, feminisms, ethnicity and race, or contemporary Caribbean societies and culture. The book offers a theoretical reading of the poetics, politics and cultural traditions that inform Indo-Caribbean women's writing, arguing that while women writers work with and through postcolonial and Caribbean cultural theories, they also respond to a distinctive set of influences and realities specific to their positioning within the Indo-Caribbean community and the wider national, regional and global imaginary. Contributors visit the overlap between national and transnational engagements in Indo-Caribbean women's literature, considering the writers' response to local or nationally specific contexts, and the writers' response to the diasporic and transnational modalities of Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean communities.
Introduction: Tracing an Emerging Tradtition Joy Mahabir and Mariam Pirbhai I. Indo-Caribbean Localities, Feminist Poetics 1. Re-Casting Jahaji-Bhain: Plantation History and the Indo-Caribbean Women’s Novel in Trinidad, Guyana and Martinique Mariam Pirbhai 2. Domestic Altars, Female Avatars: Hindu Wives and Widows in Lakshmi Persaud’s Raise the Lanterns High Supriya Nair 3. "Music and a Story": Sound Writing in Ramabai Espinet’s The Swinging Bridge Njelle Hamilton 4. Carnival Poetics and Politics: Lakshmi Persaud’s For the Love of My Name and Niala Maharaj’s Like Heaven J. Vijay Maharaj 5. The Broad Breast of the Land: Indo-Caribbean Ecofeminism and Mahadai Das Letizia Gramaglia and Joseph Jackson II. Transnational Realities, Diasporic Subjectivities 6. The Kala Pani Imaginary: A Survey of Indo-Caribbean Women’s Poetry Joy Mahabir 7. Interrogating the Presence of the Double Diaspora in Asian- and Indo-Caribbean Women Writers for Children Karen Sands O’Connor 8. Indo-Trinidadian Identities and Sexuality: A Survey of Shani Mootoo’s Fiction Frank Birbalsingh 9. Illicit Intimacies, the Rāmāyana and Synaesthetic Remembering in Shani Mootoo’s Valmiki’s Daughter Donna McCormack 10. Revising Female Indian Memory: Ramabai Espinet’s Construction of an Indo-Trinidadian Diaspora in The Swinging Bridge Rodolphe Solbiac Bibliography Contributors
Joy Mahabir is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Suffolk County Community College of the State University of New York, U.S.A.
Mariam Pirbhai is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.