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James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head
Jenny M. James

This article considers James Baldwin’s last published novel, Just Above My Head (1979), as the culmination of his exploration of kinship, reflecting on the ways distance and loss characterize African-American familial relations. By analyzing Baldwin’s representation of Hall Montana’s relationship to, and mourning of, his younger brother Arthur, this article argues that JAMH revises the terms of the black family to imagine an alternative, errant kinship that is adoptive, migratory, and sustained through songs of joy and grief. My approach to the novel’s portrayal of kinship is indebted to Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation (1990), in which he defines “errantry” as a fundamental characteristic of diaspora that resists the claustrophobic, filial violence and territorial dispossession that are slavery’s legacies. Baldwin represents errant kinship in JAMH through his inclusion of music and formal experimentation. Departing from previous scholarship that reads JAMH as emblematic of the author’s artistic decline, I interpret the novel’s numerous syntactic and figurative experiments as offering new formal insight into his portrait of brotherly love. Baldwin’s integration of two distinctive leitmotifs, blood and song, is therefore read as a formal gesture toward a more capacious and migratory kinship.

James Baldwin Review
Anne-Meike Fechter

she's doing photography. Mike just bought her this expensive camera. But it's never quite enough! Things get messy, of course. Why did we not expect it to get messy? Lizzie was describing a form of relating to others that appeared frequently in conversations, and was woven through everyday humanitarian practices, namely the idiom of kinship. Her relationship with Sophorn was a result of both chance and choice, and it bore the hallmarks of families: there

in Everyday humanitarianism in Cambodia
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Euro-American orphans, gender, genre, and cultural memory
Maria Holmgren Troy
,
Elizabeth Kella
, and
Helena Wahlström

3 Literary kinships: Euro-American orphans, gender, genre, and cultural memory The writers I most consciously respond to are the nineteenth-century American writers like Melville, Dickinson, Poe, and Twain. (Robinson, 1992: 157) Though literary orphanhood has carried different meanings in different historical periods, it has often worked as a prism, refracting and reflecting ideas about national identity and belonging. The canonization of orphan tales and the popularity of genres featuring literal or metaphorical orphans, particularly in the nineteenth century

in Making home
Daniel R. Smith

… whether to pull down or elevate, the English have had to work through their social class idioms. (Marilyn Strathern, After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century ) The decline and fall of England's upper class? The week after the Brexit vote, I attended an English public school's arts festival. While it certainly did not lend my political dissatisfaction any comfort, it

in The fall and rise of the English upper class
Neal Curtis

6 Symbolic authority and kinship We have seen that the primary political act of the sovereign is to define who is friend and who is enemy; who is protected as part of the community and who is excluded or banished. This suggests that an understanding of kinship is also essential to any analysis of sovereignty. Understood from this perspective, the sovereign is a symbolic authority organising, regulating and policing the activities of those who live within a territory. The fact that the sovereign traditionally has his analogue in the despot (despotēs in Greek) or

in Sovereignty and superheroes
Native American orphans and sovereignty
Maria Holmgren Troy
,
Elizabeth Kella
, and
Helena Wahlström

2 From captivity to kinship: Native American ­orphans and sovereignty If our struggle is anything, it is the struggle for sovereignty, and if ­sovereignty is anything, it is a way of life. (Warrior, 1995: 123) Multiculturalism fits uneasily with Native America. As we have seen, multiculturalism is at once a descriptive and a normative concept of cultural difference, purporting to account in neutral ways for the actual racial or ethnic diversity of a politically ‘unified’ American nation, while also affirming cultural distinctiveness in the face of the

in Making home
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Editors: and

Although the preoccupation of Gothic storytelling with the family has often been observed, it invites a more systematic exploration. Gothic Kinship brings together case studies of Gothic kinship ties in film and literature and offers a synthesis and theoretical exploration of the different appearances of the Gothic family. The volume explores the cultural mediation of the shifting relations of kinship and power in gothic fictionfrom the eighteenth century up to the present day. Writers discussed include early British Gothic writers such as Eleanor Sleath and Louisa Sidney Stanhope as well as a range of later authors writing in English, including Elizabeth Gaskell, William March, Stephen King, Poppy Z. Brite, Patricia Duncker, J. K. Rowling and Audrey Niffenegger. There are also essays on Dutch authors (Louis Couperus and Renate Dorrestein) and on the film directors Wes Craven and Steven Sheil.

Arranged chronologically, the various contributions show that both early and contemporary Gothic display very diverse kinship ties, ranging from metaphorical to triangular, from queer to nuclear-patriarchal. Gothic proves to be a rich source of expressing both subversive and conservative notions of the family.

David d’Avray

Susan Reynolds has rightly rejected any notion of an early Middle Ages where kinship was ‘unsupplemented by lordship and by other forms of community’, 1 and she has concentrated her own research on other social bonds, but she is convinced nonetheless that ‘All that we know of medieval society leaves no doubt of the importance of kinship’. 2 The large bibliography 3 on medieval kinship reflects this importance. One thing that emerges from this scholarly literature is that apart from the rules imposed by the church there was nothing that can be called the

in Law, laity and solidarities
Petra Nordqvist

transformed into ‘mother’. Her mother, in turn, is transformed into ‘grandmother’. Thus, the making of kin, kin relationships and kin identities such as ‘mother’ or ‘grandmother’ are, it would seem, self-evident and a straightforward ‘given’ part of human nature. Although a kinship group is constantly evolving and changing, built into the very foundations of the idea of how kin relate are therefore notions of permanence, stability and certainty. ‘Making kin’ might be harder for some than for others, however. Perhaps not everyone can access the stability and certainty that

in Bodily interventions and intimate labour
Sam Barrett

7 Kinship, poor relief and the welfare process in early modern England Sam Barrett The poor in England Kinship, poor relief and the welfare process Overview – the ‘problem’ of kinship Historiographical writing on the depth and functionality of kinship in early modern England is limited. It is also contradictory. On the extent and depth of kinship networks, for instance, early commentators such as Peter Laslett were clear that English households tended to be relatively small and simple and that, because of demographic constraint (migration, ‘background

in The poor in England 1700–1850