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Snow on the Cane Fields

Women’s Writing and Creole Subjectivity

1995
Author:

Judith Raiskin

Snow on the Cane Fields

Cultural colonialism seen through the writing of English-speaking creole women.

In a probing analysis of creole women’s writing over the past century, Judith Raiskin explores the workings and influence of cultural and linguistic colonialism. Tracing the transnational and racial meanings of creole identity, Raiskin looks at four English-speaking writers from South Africa and the Caribbean: Olive Schreiner, Jean Rhys, Michelle Cliff, and Zoë Wicomb.

“In her probing analysis of four Creole women writers, Raiskin produces a sophisticated yet accessible work that elaborates, without simplifying, the relationship of the writing subject to the discourses of nationalism, rave, gender, and language.”
Sidonie Smith, State University of New York, Binghamton

In a probing analysis of creole women’s writing over the past century, Judith Raiskin explores the workings and influence of cultural and linguistic colonialism. Tracing the transnational and racial meanings of creole identity, Raiskin looks at four English-speaking writers from South Africa and the Caribbean: Olive Schreiner, Jean Rhys, Michelle Cliff, and Zoë Wicomb. She examines their work in light of the discourses of their times: nineteenth-century “race science” and imperialistic rhetoric, turn-of-the-century anti-Semitic sentiment and feminist pacifism, postcolonial theory, and apartheid legislation.

In their writing and in their multiple identities, these women highlight the gendered nature of race, citizenship, culture, and the language of literature. Raiskin shows how each writer expresses her particular ambivalences and divided loyalties, both enforcing and challenging the proprietary British perspective on colonial history, culture, and language. A new perspective on four writers and their uneasy places in colonial culture, Snow on the Cane Fields reveals the value of pursuing a feminist approach to questions of national, political, and racial identity.

Judith Raiskin is assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Snow on the Cane Fields

Judith Raiskin is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon.

Snow on the Cane Fields

“Raiskin reveals how women writers’ literary representations of the complexities of Creole women’s identities and identifications powerfully disrupt the repressive dualities and essentialisms of colonial discourses and pave the way for future feminist and postcolonial counterdiscursive practices.” Signs

“In her probing analysis of four Creole women writers, Raiskin produces a sophisticated yet accessible work that elaborates, without simplifying, the relationship of the writing subject to the discourses of nationalism, race, gender, and language.” Sidonie Smith, State University of New York, Binghamton

“Those already familiar with the work of Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabba, and others will appreciate Raiskin’s efforts to consolidate and to contribute to debates on empire and sexuality” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature

“In her probing analysis of four Creole women writers, Raiskin produces a sophisticated yet accessible work that elaborates, without simplifying, the relationship of the writing subject to the discourses of nationalism, rave, gender, and language.”
Sidonie Smith, State University of New York, Binghamton