Reconfiguring mestizaje : black identity in the works of Piri Thomas, Manuel Zapata Olivella, Nicolás Guillén and Nancy Morejón
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Reconfiguring Mestizaje examines the expression of Black identity and mestizaje in the works of four authors of Afro-Caribbean descent: Piri Thomas, Manuel Zapata Olivella, Nicol·s GuillÈn and Nancy MorejÛn. The study focuses on the negotiations of racial and cultural identities, and how tropes of travel play a central role in the processes of investigating and refiguring Blackness in literature. The discussion involves a brief analysis of travel accounts as a literary trope that enables these writers to represent not only a physical or geographical journey, but also an imagined or metaphorical one. It also includes an historical review of the cultural racist practices and ideologies prevalent throughout colonial and present day American societies. This entails an examination of the different forms of race discourse and racialization practiced in both Latin America and the United States, including theories of difference, double-consciousness, and passing, and most importantly the construction of identity through literature. The study centers around how expressions of racial difference are frowned upon in countries that espouse the ideology of ìracial democracy,î and how these four authors use literature as a means of approaching, engaging, and contesting such ideologies, and in the process rewrite themselves within the vision of their respective nations. It is my intention to lend greater understanding to changing notions of race and identity and the negotiation of these identities within American societies.