Remapping Citizenship and the Nation in African-American Literature: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Remapping Citizenship and the Nation in African-American Literature

1st Edition

By Stephen Knadler


248 pages

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Through a reading of periodicals, memoirs, speeches, and fiction from the antebellum period to the Harlem Renaissance, this study re-examines various myths about a U.S. progressive history and about an African American counter history in terms of race, democracy, and citizenship. Reframing 19th century and early 20th-century African-American cultural history from the borderlands of the U.S. empire where many African Americans lived, worked and sought refuge, Knadler argues that these writers developed a complicated and layered transnational and creolized political consciousness that challenged dominant ideas of the nation and citizenship. Writing from multicultural contact zones, these writers forged a "new black politics"—one that anticipated the current debate about national identity and citizenship in a twenty-first century global society. As Knadler argues, they defined, created, and deployed an alternative political language to re-imagine U.S. citizenship and its related ideas of national belonging, patriotism, natural rights, and democratic agency.


"A particularly informative resource for scholars interested in engaging early African American literature as a part of the transatlantic diaspora. Recommended."


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Black Politics and Diasporic Intimacy: Remapping the Nation and Citizenship Part I: Transnational Citizenship in the "Golden Age of Black Nationalism" 1. "To Breathe Central America": Hemispheric Interplays and Martin Delany’s Imagining of Citizenship in the Colored Republic 2. Fashioning Democracy in America: Eliza Potter, Elizabeth Keckley and Black Working-Class Women in the Consumer Republic 3. Trans-American Seductions and Creolized Black Reconstruction: The Imagining of Democratic Agency in Post-Civil War African-American Fiction Part II: Reconstructing Black Citizenship at the Age of Empire 4. Accommodated Citizenship: Black Cowboys and the Borderland West 5. Sensationalizing Patriotism: Sutton Griggs and the Sentimental Nationalism of Citizen Tom 6. Policing the Isthmus: The Contested TransPacific Geography of a New World Negro Epilogue: The Signifyin(g) Monkey Round the World Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Stephen Knadler is Associate Professor of U.S. literature at Spelman College. He is the author of The Fugitive Race: Minority Writers Resisting Whiteness.

About the Series

Routledge Transnational Perspectives on American Literature

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / African American