1st Edition

Women Writers of the New African Diaspora Transnational Negotiations and Female Agency

By Pauline Ada Uwakweh Copyright 2023
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book makes a significant addition to the field of literary criticism on African Diaspora literatures. In one volume, it brings together the novels of eight transnational African Diaspora women writers, Yaa Gyasi, Chika Unigwe, Chimamanda Adichie, Imbole Mbue, NoViolet Bulawayo, Aminatta Forna, Taiye Selasi, and Leila Aboulela, and positions them as chroniclers of African immigrant experiences.

    The book inspires critical readings of these writers’ works by revealing emerging trends in women’s literature as they are being determined and redefined by immigration. As transnational subjects, the writers engage various meanings of mobility and exhibit innovative aesthetic styles; they create awareness on gender identities and transformations, constructions of home and belonging, as well as the politics of citizenship in the hostland. The book also highlights the importance of reverse migrations and performance returns to the homeland as an expression of human desire for home and belonging, and taken as a whole, it enhances our understanding of how migration and transnational existence are (re)shaping immigrant subjects.

    This book will be of interest to scholars, students, and researchers of African Diaspora literatures and gender studies, who will find this book beneficial for investigating critical trends, approaches to transnational literature, and for comprehending the diasporic burdens that transnational immigrants bear.

    Introduction: Transnationalism and New African Diaspora Women Writers: An Overview

    PART I: EMIGRATION: (En)gendering Transnationalism, Mobilities, and Politics of Representation

    Chapter 1. Power of the Story: Mediating Africa’s Diasporic Ruptures in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing

    Chapter 2. Specters of Slavery, Sites of Violence: Reading Unigwe’s On Black Sisters Street as a Neo-Slave Narrative

    Chapter 3. Mobilities as Transnational Literary Aesthetics in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah

    PART II: NEGOTIATION: Transnational Identities, Home, and Intersectional Contexts

    Chapter 4. Navigating the American Dream: Diaspora Families and Transnational Dilemmas in Mbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers

    Chapter 5. ‘The Home of Things Falling Apart’: Narrating and Performing Home(land) in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names

    Chapter 6. Enter the Afropolitan: Taiye Selasi’s Cultural Significations in Ghana Must Go

    Chapter 7. Narrative Identity in Ancestor Stones: Aminatta Forna’s Postcolonial and Revisionist Discourse

    Chapter 8. Gendered Journeys and Self-Discovery: The Transnational Context in Leila Aboulela’s Bird Summons

    PART III: RETURNS: Reverse Migration, Ambivalent Returns, and Making Sense of Homeland

    Chapter 9. Theorizing Homeland Returns in Transnational Women’s Narratives

    Chapter 10: Conclusion: Telescoping the Future of New African Diaspora Women’s Literature



    Pauline Ada Uwakweh is Associate Professor of Literature and teaches postcolonial African, African-American and World literatures in the English Department at North Carolina A & T State University, USA. She earned her Ph.D. degree from Temple University, Philadelphia; her M.A. degree from the University of Calabar; and her B.A. degree from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is the editor of African Women Under Fire: Literary Discourses in War and Conflict (2017) and co-editor of the book, Engaging the Diaspora: Migration and African Families (2014). She has published several articles, book reviews, and book chapters on women in professional journals, such as Research in African Literatures, African Literature Today, and Journal of African Literature Association. Some of her works have been published in critical books on African literature, including Emerging African Voices, Emerging Perspectives on Buchi Emecheta, Nwanyibu: Womanbeing in African Literature, and Emerging Perspectives on Ama Ata Aidoo. She is a Fellow of the Carnegie African Diaspora Program (CADFP).

    "Uwakweh’s lucid, highly relevant book compellingly explores the meanings of gendered African migratory experiences from emigration and transnationalism to reverse migration. In this valuable account of contemporary Afrodiasporic women’s writing, the discussion of the aesthetics of mobile technologies and the conceptualization of diasporic returns provide particularly refreshing insights into migration mobilities in fiction."

    Anna-Leena Toivanen, Academy Research Fellow, University of Eastern Finland, Finland


    "Uwakweh takes us beyond the now familiar concept of the Afropolitan to consider other matters of interest to female writers of the new African diaspora, including perceptions of history, generational differences, and professional development among others. In so doing, she opens up new vistas for critical engagement with these writers."

    Moradewun Adejunmobi, University of California, Davis, USA


    "Women Writers of the New African Diaspora provides a timely addition to dialogs about African women writers’ explorations of the combined impact of mobility, transnationalism, religion and Afropolitan identities on gender and immigration. A compelling examination of the roots-and-routes of Black identity in contemporary Africa’s ongoing transnational literary project."

    Anthonia C. Kalu, University of California-Riverside, USA


    "With eight outstanding works of fiction as a lens, Uwakweh illuminates foundations and feeders of female Diasporan transformations, agency and empowerment.  This is a groundbreaking work that offers historic and current perspectives in contextualizing the modern African woman in a manner that is at once thoroughgoing, erudite, insightful and accessible."

    Benjamin Kwakye novelist and poet, winner of the 1999 and 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prizes (Africa Region)


    "Uwakweh’s comprehensive study of eight, transnational African women writers exploring the different intersectionalities specific to women migrants significantly adds to the growing scholarship of Afrodiasporic literature. Her insightful analysis of the characters’ complex relationships between their host and home countries underscores the need for new paradigms for theorizing African literature."

    Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka, Professor Emerita, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA