Naturally Woman

By Sharon Morgan Beckford

Naturally Woman
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Black Canadian women must constantly incorporate changes to their identities to faces the challenges of living in a multicultural society. Naturally Woman: The Search for Self in Black Canadian Women's Literature examines the ways in which Black immigrant women must adapt to ... Read more


Overview

Black Canadian women must constantly incorporate changes to their identities to faces the challenges of living in a multicultural society. Naturally Woman: The Search for Self in Black Canadian Women's Literature examines the ways in which Black immigrant women must adapt to survive in a multicultural country such as Canada without losing their sense of self. The author examines the texts of five major modern/contemporary Canadian writers: Dionne Brand, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Tessa McWatt, Claire Harris, and Makeda Silvera, through prismatic criticism and by applying and extending a number of feminist discourses concerning Black women writing identity, literary representations of female sojourn in Canada (as simultaneously aboveground and underground), feminist archetypal/myth criticism, and the discourse of mother/daughter/grandmother/substitute mother relationships. The book argues that there is a universal central myth on which the writings of these marginalized women are based and shows how some of the challenges of multiculturalism can be overcome, and how multiculturalism can become a site for creativity and innovation. Further, this groundbreaking book demonstrates how Black women writers in Canada retell the Demeter myth as ways of explaining the issues associated with change, migration, and individuation. The book claims these stories as neo-mythic narratives of African Diasporic epic journeys, and as part of the narrative of the wider Great Migration of Blacks in the Americas. This book is a significant addition to knowing what remains "naturally woman" after the social construction of citizenship.

Sharon Morgan Beckford

Sharon Morgan Beckford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she lectures on literatures and cultures of the African Diaspora. She received her Ph.D. in English from York University, Toronto, Ontario. Her (Un)Recovered Persephones: The Gendered Quest for Individuation in a Selection of Literature by Black Canadian Women Writers won the 2006 Mary McEwen Ph.D. Dissertation Award for the best dissertation in Women's Studies from the Centre for Feminist Research, York University. Her research interests include African Diaspora Studies, Canadian literature, postcolonial literatures, and Black Cultural and Feminist Studies. Her publications include essays, book chapters, book reviews, and encyclopaedia entries. She is currently working on selected representations of the black female body as a political trope in the literatures of the African diaspora. Her work has been published in numerous journals across Canada, as well as chapters in the following anthologies, Ebony Roots, Northern Soil (forthcoming 2009); Border Crossings: A Sourcebook on Caribbean Writers in Canada (forthcoming 2009); Surviving the Crossing: Essays on the Works of Austin Clarke (forthcoming); Strangers in the Mirror: In and Out of the Mainstream of Culture in Canada (2004).

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