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Morrison and the transnation: Toni Morrison, God Help the Child and The Origin of Others and Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Morrison and the transnation: Toni Morrison, God Help the Child and The Origin of Others and Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Baillie, Justine ORCID: 0000-0002-0056-9155 (2019) Morrison and the transnation: Toni Morrison, God Help the Child and The Origin of Others and Zadie Smith, Swing Time. Contemporary Women's Writing. ISSN 1754-1476 (Print), 1754-1484 (Online) (In Press)

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Abstract

I read Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015) as an interjection into post-racial and post-black discourses that emerged during Barack Obama’s election campaign of 2008. I consider contemporary conceptualisations of the transnation that also gained momentum in the Obama years but which have their origins in patterns of migration that were, post-cold war, no longer solely the consequence of colonialism, empire or slavery. These theoretical developments are significant for the discussion of contemporary women writers who engage with race, gender, class and new movements of people. In The Origin of Others (2017), Toni Morrison traces the process of “othering” from its beginnings in slavery through to its modern day incarnation as a feature of globalisation. Morrison’s latest work of non-fiction, provides a productive context for reading God Help the Child, one that illuminates issues that exist beyond both the novel’s immediate localised setting of California and Morrison’s concern with her characters’ individual quests for recovery from childhood trauma. Zadie Smith in Swing Time (2016) is concerned with the experience of a woman negotiating her complex relationship with racial heritage. Both Bride in God Help the Child and Smith’s nameless narrator in Swing Time are literary manifestations of contemporary negotiations of issues of identity, gender and race that are best understood within a global framework.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transnation, Post-racial, Post-blackness, Globalisation, The Body
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 15:31
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/23094

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