The increased contact between nations and cultures in the globalization of the twenty-first century requires an increased accountability for the ways in which individuals and countries negotiate these points of contact. New World and Caribbean Studies envision the cross-cultural and transnational encounters between indigenous, European, and African peoples as important contributors to a paradigm within which identity in relation offers an alternative to identities rooted in national and filial frameworks. Such frameworks limit the ability to construct identity without relying upon static representations of history, culture, and ethnicity that tend to privilege one group over another. In the literature of Edwidge Danticat and Julia Alvarez, however, a fictional space is created that rewrites national histories and problematizes rooted identities through their novels' characterization. This fictional space is a transnational paradigm that—in the vocabulary of the critical theories of Édouard Glissant, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, and David A. Hollinger—explores the effects of cultures founded on ideas of relation and affiliation rather than on rooted socio-cultural legitimacy and ethno-political authority. Danticat and Alvarez's characters engage in a process of present living that allows them to negotiate their experience of diaspora and maintain a stable construction of identity in relation.



College and Department

Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature



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Edwidge Danticat, Julia Alvarez, New Word Studies, Caribbean Studies, cross-cultural, transnational, Edouard Glissant, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, David Hollinger, multiculturalism, relation, identity, nationalism, present living, transnational imaginary, Salome, Butterflies, Krik? Krak!, Dewbreaker