Reading intersections of race, class and gender in fiction by black British women writers.

Book chapter


Scafe, S. (2020). Reading intersections of race, class and gender in fiction by black British women writers. in: The Race and Gender Reader Routledge. pp. 1-19
AuthorsScafe, S.
Abstract

This chapter identifies two cultural periods or ‘moments’ in black British cultural production and, using a selection of fiction by women writers, argues that each of these texts intervenes in discourses of race, gender and class to interrogate easy assumptions about black British identities in the post-war and contemporary periods. Using a concept of ‘ethical criticism’, derived from the work of Michael Mack (2012) and Stuart Hall (2008/2018), I argue that the fiction analysed in this chapter provides a ‘certain kind of learning’ about how identities emerge in representation and how these representations are contested (Hall 2008). I begin with a discussion of Buchi Emecheta’s Second-Class Citizen and Joan Riley’s Waiting in the Twilight and conclude with an analysis of the novels of Bernardine Evaristo. In my reading of this work, I demonstrate the ways in which this fiction exposes both the constructed nature of race and gender and the extent to which gender identities and roles are raced.
I argue that the significance of these texts as counternarratives is that they serve to remap the national imaginary, presenting identity as irredeemably plural. Gender categories in these texts are shaped by culture and class but also by historical discourses, themselves determined by contemporary framings of ‘race’ and gender and the power structures within which these categories are formed.

KeywordsBuchi Emecheta Second-Class Citizen, Joan Riley Waiting in the Twilight, Bernardine Evaristo Lara, Mr Loverman, race, gender identities, sexuality.
Page range1-19
Year2020
Book titleThe Race and Gender Reader
PublisherRoutledge
File
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open
Publication dates
Print01 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Dec 2019
Deposited06 Mar 2020
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/89434

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