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Title: The influence of anxiety : re-presentations of identity in Antiguan literature from 1890 to the present
Author: Medica, Hazra C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 4550
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines Antiguan narratives’ peculiar engagements with the national question. It draws largely upon the works of four writers—Jamaica Kincaid, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Marie-Elena John and Frieda Cassin—and selected calypsonians including Antigua’s leading female and male calypsonians, Queen Ivena and King Short Shirt. It reads anxiety as the chief organising principle of the singular deconstructions of gender, ‘racial’, ethnic, and class identities undertaken by these texts. I offer a retooled account of anxiety that elaborates the local/regional concept of bad-mindedness informing the core of the narratives’ deconstructive and recuperative projects. Chapter one probes the bad-minded delimiting of Antiguan literary production. It interrogates the singular cohesive Caribbean canon typically suggested by critical readings, which obscure the narratives/ literary traditions of smaller territories such as Antigua. It also highlights locally produced canons’ intervention into the dominant canons/maps of Caribbean literary traditions. Its discussion is underpinned by the concept of bad-mindedness which I use to frame the evils that locate the smaller territory and its inhabitants at the cultural periphery. Chapter two examines the texts’ enunciations of the bad-mindedness inherent in the construction of the composite gendered identities of 19th century Creole women, 20th century working-class Afro-Antiguan women and men, and 20th century proletarian Carib women. It refashions Erna Brodber’s kumbla trope, Kenneth Ramchand’s notion of terrified consciousness, and Jamaica Kincaid’s line trope to elaborate these enunciations. Chapter three examines Antiguan calypsos’ record of the peculiar responses of small-islanders to their subordinate position within the ‘global village’ and continuing entanglement in British colonialism and neo-colonial relationships and processes. It draws upon Charles Mill’s theory of smadditization/ smadditizin’ or the Afro-Caribbean struggle for recognition of personhood and Paget Henry’s account of the dependency theory to analyse the calypsos’ anxious insistence upon Afro-Antiguan personhood. The primary conclusion of my thesis is that an engagement with the neglected literary traditions of the smaller territories and national literatures on the whole, is likely to excavate a cornucopia of currently sidelined experiences, issues, and transnational relationships which can only serve to enrich our postcolonial conversations.
Supervisor: Elleke, Boehmer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; Caribbean literature ; Caribbean literary traditions ; Caribbean calypso ; Caribbean oral traditions ; Caribbean protest literature ; Antigua ; Antiguan literature ; small-island literature ; Jamaica Kincaid ; race ; gender ; class relations