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Middle Passage Blackness and its Diasporic Discontents: The Case for a Post-War Epistemology

Middle Passage Blackness and its Diasporic Discontents: The Case for a Post-War Epistemology

Chapter:
(p.217) Chapter 12 Middle Passage Blackness and its Diasporic Discontents: The Case for a Post-War Epistemology
Source:
Africa in Europe
Author(s):
Michelle M. Wright
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318474.003.0012

This chapter proposes a new framework for understanding the African diaspora. It rejects the ‘Middle Passage Epistemology’, which dictates that diaspora studies are dominated by the African-American experience as shaped by transatlantic slavery. As an alternative, it proposes a ‘Post-War Epistemology’ that proceeds from a reading of World War Two as a transnational event that mobilised black people all over the world. Reading forward and backward from the War allows us to give adequate attention to a wider range of historical actors, including people of different genders and displaced or mobilised Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. It also brings into focus new kinds of connections among black people, a ‘horizontal diaspora’ that rests on elective affinities – sexual and cultural as well as political. The chapter draws on a range of literary and historical texts.

Keywords:   diaspora, Middle Passage, literature, World War Two, gender

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