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Title: Jazz-shaped bodies : mapping city space, time, and sound in black transnational literature
Author: Cleary, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 241X
Awarding Body: Staffordshire University
Current Institution: Staffordshire University
Date of Award: 2014
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“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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: T900 Others in Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects