There is no doubt that the political and cultural map of Europe is in the process of being radically redrawn. Alongside the major upheavals in continental Europe, the British Isles has undergone far-reaching constitutional reform. In Devolving Identities, feminist scholars explore their personal negotiations of gender, class, ethnicity and national or regional identity through their readings of two literary and cultural 'texts'. The collection centres on the ontological experience of reading and writing 'as a feminist', and combines the discussion of texts which are inscribed - whether consciously or unconsciously - with the academics' own struggle to reconcile their 'roots' with their current 'situations' or 'identities'. This book's focus on the overlapping of gender and national or regional identity is a direct response to the devolution movements currently active in the British Isles. The contributors are drawn from Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, Northern Ireland and selected regions of England. In its complex engagement of subject and text and its political insistence that we no longer consider key aspects of 'identity' in isolation, this volume presents a truly state-of-the-art investigation of (a) what it means to be 'regionally defined' and (b) how the complexity of our positioning in terms of class, gender and nation impacts upon our practice as literary and cultural critics.
Contents: Introduction; Devolution and the politics of re/location, Lynne Pearce; ’The Undeveloped Heart’: Forster, Pym and the English South, Hilary Hinds; The debateable land: Ellis Island immigration museum, Margaret Elphinstone’s A Sparrow’s Flight and Border Readings, Alison Easton; A refusal of belonging: I don’t want your straight nation, Wren Sidhe; Traversing Britain: mobility, belonging and home, Ruth McElroy; Putting myself in her place: identity, identification and Irishness in Nuala O’Faolain’s Are you Somebody? and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, Sinead McDermott; ’Lost Voices, and Fresh Perspectives’: Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners and Candia McWilliam’s Debatable Land, Flora Alexander; ’We’re coming home’: accent(uat)ing nostalgia in Kathleen Jamie’s Autonomous Region and Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey, Rachel Dyer; Driving North / Driving South: reflections upon the spatial/temporal co-ordinates of ’home’, Lynne Pearce; ’I going away, I going home’: mixed ’race’, movement and identity, Charlotte Williams; Highland Lines: the production and imagining of Highland Scotland 1803-1999, Helen Boden; Learning to remember and remembering to forget: Beloved from Belfast, Eilish Rooney; Bibliography; Index.