"Shuttles in the rocking loom of history" : dislocation in Toni Morrison's fiction
This thesis examines the trope of 'dislocation' within the later novels of Toni Morrison, identifying it as central to her representation ot African American history and experience. Organising my project around the theme and figure of dislocation allows me to bring together diverse considerations such as those of the geographical, communal, familial, cultural, corporeal and narrative displacements that preoccupy Morrison's fiction. Developing a line of enquiry neglected within the field of scholarship addressing Morrison's work, most importantly my thesis finds this term useful for negotiating the author's engagement with the diaspora engendered by racial slavery. In particular, it explores her evocation of the black diaspora as a configuration encompassing sites of remembering, affirmation and potentiality as well as processes of displacement, disruption, deracination and loss. My research is informed by a broad range of critical resources but especially Edouard Glissant's and Paul Gilroy's theories of diasporic interaction. Tracing symbolic spatial trajectories and enabling and disabling relationships to the past, I investigate Morrison's imaginary in terms of a black Atlantic of roots and routes, patterns of traversal, connection and exchange. Rejecting a narrowly defined notion of African American Studies, this thesis seeks to extend the ways in which Morrison's novels are approached, locating in them a truly diasporic vision.