The construction of memory and power relations in Elizabeth Nunez's Prospero's daughter, Andrea Levy's The long song and Joanne Hillhouse's Oh gad!
MetadataShow full item record
As explained by Aleida Assman, the last two decades of the 20th century saw the development and consolidation of memory research, a diverse field including “neuronal, medical, and psychological as well as literary, cultural, social, and political studies” that investigate “how we live by our memories, how we are haunted by them, how we use and abuse them” (210). The boom in memory studies results from a widespread interest in the revisiting of the past generated, among other factors, by the postcolonial situation in which humans that have been deprived of their indigenous history and culture are trying to (re)write their own narratives and memories (210-211). The present thesis centers on the Anglophone Caribbean – where formal colonialism began to disappear in the 1960s – and aims at exploring the construction of memory as represented in a selection of three novels published by Caribbean women writers in the 21st century. These are Elizabeth Nunez’s Prospero’s Daughter (2006), Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010) and Joanne Hillhouse’s Oh Gad! (2012). The initial hypothesis of this study is that, in the corpus under consideration, memory is represented as a contact zone permeated by struggles between cultures in asymmetrical power relations. It is creatively constructed in multiple spaces and practices, and results from the attempt to (re)write Caribbean identities. In relation to the theoretical background supporting the analysis, this study is grounded in a selection of categories which includes Michel Foucault’s and Anibal Quijano’s theories of power, both based on the conception of power as a dynamic relationship involving conflict and struggle –, Mary Louise Pratt’s definition of the contact zone and Stuart Hall’s theories of cultural identities in general, and of Caribbean cultural identities in particular. The discussion of memory is anchored in Halbwachs’ concept of collective memory, Nora’s definition of the lieux de memoire, Jan Assman’s distinction between communicative and cultural memory, and Paul Ricoeur’s analysis of the pragmatic dimension of memory, among others.
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internacional