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Jazz-Shaped Bodies: Mapping City Space, Time, and Sound in Black Transnational Literature

Cleary, Emma (2014) Jazz-Shaped Bodies: Mapping City Space, Time, and Sound in Black Transnational Literature. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

“Jazz-Shaped Bodies” addresses representations of the city in black transnational
literature, with a focus on sonic schemas and mapping. Drawing on cultural
geography, posthumanist thought, and the discourse of diaspora, the thesis
examines the extent to which the urban landscape is figured as a panoptic structure
in twentieth and twenty-first century diasporic texts, and how the mimetic function
of artistic performance challenges this structure. Through comparative analysis of
works emerging from and/or invested with sites in American, Canadian, and
Caribbean landscapes, the study develops accretively and is structured
thematically, tracing how selected texts: map the socio-spatial dialectic through
visual and sonic schemas; develop the metaphorical use of the phonograph in the
folding of space and time; revive ancestral memory and renew an engagement with
the landscape; negotiate and transcend shifting national, cultural, and geographical
borderlines and boundaries that seek to encode and enclose black subjectivity.The project focuses on literary works such as James Baldwin’s intimate
cartographies of New York in Another Country (1962), Earl Lovelace’s carnivalising
of city space in The Dragon Can’t Dance (1979), Toni Morrison’s creative blending of
the sounds of black music in Jazz (1992), and the postbody poetics of Wayde
Compton’s Performance Bond (2004), among other texts that enact crossings of, or
otherwise pierce, binaries and borderlines, innovating portals for alternative
interpellation and subverting racially hegemonic visual regimes concretised in the
architecture of the city. An examination of the specificity of the cityscape against
the wider arc of transnationalism establishes how African American, AfroCaribbean, and Black Canadian texts share and exchange touchstones such as jazz,
kinesis, liminality, and hauntedness, while remaining sensitive to the distinct sociohistorical
contexts and intensities at each locus, underscoring the significance of
rendition — of body, space, time, and sound — to black transnational writing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Depositing User: Users 1781 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 13:56
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:42

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