James Baldwin and the "Closeted-ness" of American
This article reads the work of James Baldwin in dialogue with that of Eve Kosofsky
Sedgwick. Taking its cue from Baldwin’s claim that Americans “live […] with something in
[their] closet” that they “pretend […] is not there,” it explores his depiction of a
United States characterized by the “closeted-ness” of its racial discourse. In doing so,
the article draws on Sedgwick’s work concerning how the containment of discourses
pertaining to sexuality hinges on the closeting of non-heteronormative sexual practices.
Reconceptualizing Sedgwick’s ideas in the context of a black, queer writer like Baldwin,
however, problematizes her own insistence on the “historical gay specificity” of the
epistemology she traces. To this end, this article does not simply posit a racial
counterpart to the homosexual closet. Rather, reflecting Baldwin’s insistence that “the
sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined,” I highlight here the
interpretive possibilities opened up by intersectional analyses that view race, sexuality,
and national identity as coextensive, reciprocal epistemologies.
Searching for Black Queer Domesticity at Chez Baldwin
Magdalena J. Zaborowska
This essay argues for the importance of James Baldwin’s last house, located in St. Paul-de-Vence in the south of France, to his late works written during the productive period of 1971–87: No Name in the Street (1972), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), The Devil Finds Work (1976), Just Above My Head (1979), The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), and the unpublished play The Welcome Table (1987). That period ushered in a new Baldwin, more complex and mature as an author, who became disillusioned while growing older as a black queer American who had no choice but to live abroad to get his work done and to feel safe. Having established his most enduring household at “Chez Baldwin,” as the property was known locally, the writer engaged in literary genre experimentation and challenged normative binaries of race, gender, and sexuality with his conceptions of spatially contingent national identity. The late Baldwin created unprecedented models of black queer domesticity and humanism that, having been excluded from U.S. cultural narratives until recently, offer novel ways to reconceptualize what it means to be an American intellectual in the twenty-first-century world.
De-scribing Imperial identity from alien to migrant
and Imperialism (1993) that the imposition of nationalidentity is implicit
in the domestic novel in its boundaries, exclusions, and silences – the
Imperial interstices of English society that Said’s contrapuntal reading
can reveal by turning the narrative inside out, temporarily centralising its
margins. Such emphases on borders, heterogeneity, and reading against
the grain require analyses of nationalidentity which move away from
binaries of domestic and foreign, native and immigrant, belonging and
alienation, and instead consider the people, cultures and
This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.
Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.
This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
consequences, than the falsification of Scotland’s history initiated
by Walter Scott’ (1999: 116). Scott, it is argued, was not alone in deploying the Jacobite cause and Highland culture to offer a distorting and
empty symbolism of nationalidentity, in a ‘project of sealing off the
Scottish past as a source of contemporary political inspiration’ (Beveridge
and Turnbull 1997: 95) and the continuing critical negotiations of his
influence reinforce his key role in cultural representation (Kidd 1993;
Nairn 1981; Pittock 1999). While Edgeworth and Scott therefore offer an
preoccupation with issues
of nationalidentity and the state of Irish society that informs so much
of current criticism, which means that literature that ostensibly avoids
these themes or addresses them only obliquely easily gets overlooked.
Another explanation may be Enright’s fragmented storytelling, which
means that themes are not always easily detected or obvious. It seems
difficult to find a place for Enright in contemporary Irish criticism, though
the primary reason for this appears to be the rather narrow concerns
of the critics, not any reservations about the quality
British masculinities, pomophobia, and the post-nation
masculinist notions of man, self and nation. Although I
develop no direct correspondence here, given the role that the ideology
of ‘Englishness’ has historically played throughout these islands, I suggest that this critique of gender and nationalidentity could be usefully
adapted all across the Atlantic archipelago.
The Union and Jack
In striking contrast to Virginia Woolf’s cosmopolitan assertion in Three
Guineas that ‘as a woman I have no country … As a woman my country
is the whole world’ (1993 : 234), Antony Easthope writes in What a
Man’s Gotta Do that ‘if I am
Britain you feel anomalous’ ( Pfeffer 2013 ). These sentiments are echoed in The Making of Henry , in which the protagonist wonders if his girlfriend is ‘press[ing] American literature on him’ because on that side of the Atlantic ‘the Jews had taken on a version of the nationalidentity . . . even shaped it . . . in their own image’, whereas in Britain Jews wanted only ‘to be left alone to notice nothing. And not be noticed noticing it’ ( 2005a : 146–47). On the other hand, Jacobson has at times affected a crude anti-Americanism, claiming that ‘[e]verything that comes