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AutochthonomiesTransnationalism, Testimony, and Transmission in the African Diaspora$
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Myriam J. A. Chancy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043048

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043048.001.0001

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Autochthonomous Ambiguities

Autochthonomous Ambiguities

Travel, Memoir, and Transnational African Diasporic Subjects in (Post)colonial Contexts

(p.150) 4 Autochthonomous Ambiguities

Myriam J. A. Chancy

University of Illinois Press

This chapter concludes the study by examining exchanges between African American and Afro-Caribbean contexts, as expressed in Harlem Renaissance texts. Jacques Rancière’s concepts of engaged spectatorship and subject emancipation are used to analyze intra-African Diasporic exchanges in postcolonial contexts. The chapter focuses on works by writers of the Harlem Renaissance with specific attention to their apprehension of Haitian history and folklore as an expression of autochthonomous realities. The chapter argues that what made it possible for Harlem Renaissance writers to identify with cultures and aesthetics produced by other writers and cultures of the African Diaspora was the movement’s professed search and advocacy for an African American sensibility that would birth a “New Negro” not defined by the state, or by a history of subjugation. Works by Zora Neale Hurston and Claude McKay show an impulse that was not one of domination, such as we see reflected in traditional travel texts, but one of af/filiation (as defined in previous chapters).

Keywords:   Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, kreyolization, Claude McKay, travel, Jacques Rancière, engaged spectatorship, emancipated subject, indigeneity, af/filiation

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