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Mothering across Cultures

Postcolonial Representations

2001
Author:

Angelita Reyes

Mothering across Cultures

A multifaceted exploration of memory, mothering, literature, and postcoloniality.

Blending the personal and the historical, the practical and the theoretical, Angelita Reyes draws on a wide range of texts from Africa and the African diaspora to establish mothering as a paradigm of progressive feminisms. Reyes creates a comparative dialogue among the fictions of five postcolonial women writers: Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Jean Rhys, and Mariama Bâ.

Angelita Reyes covers texts by African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean women writers and contextualizes each with historical materials often discovered by the author herself through fresh archival research in the Caribbean, Europe, the United States, and Africa. She reveals points of continuity in the history of Africans in the Americas and across the Atlantic while also taking note of the complexities of the legacies of various forms of colonization and imperialism. This works stands to have a unique place in the field.

Myriam J. A. Chancy, author of Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women

Blending the personal and the historical, the practical and the theoretical, Angelita Reyes draws on a wide range of texts from Africa and the African diaspora to establish mothering as a paradigm of progressive feminisms. Reyes creates a comparative dialogue among the fictions of five postcolonial women writers: Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Jean Rhys, and Mariama Bâ.

Reyes discusses the theme of mothering as a human reality, as a paradigm for cultural crossings, and as what she refers to as autobiographical memory-telling. Not only does her work explore the fraught relationships among memory, history, and mothering, but it also questions conventional ways of approaching the often fragmented testimony and artifacts of the lives of women of African descent.

Finally, Reyes uses memory-telling to present the autobiography of her own mother, whose extended American family said she "married a Spanish Negro who don’t speak good English." Her blending of authorial, critical, historical, and autobiographical voices in this work extends our understanding of the cross-cultural ideas of mothering.

Mothering across Cultures

Angelita Reyes is associate professor and Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Afro-American and African Studies and the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Mothering across Cultures

Angelita Reyes covers texts by African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean women writers and contextualizes each with historical materials often discovered by the author herself through fresh archival research in the Caribbean, Europe, the United States, and Africa. She reveals points of continuity in the history of Africans in the Americas and across the Atlantic while also taking note of the complexities of the legacies of various forms of colonization and imperialism. This works stands to have a unique place in the field.

Myriam J. A. Chancy, author of Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women

Reyes challenges traditional approaches. Presents a fascinating account of the autobiography of her own mother.

Choice

An excellent postcolonial critic. Her assessments of Morrison’s texts, particularly Beloved, are insightful and sensitive, covering historical material that few scholars have understood as well as she.

Research in African Literatures