Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
Mapping literature from Spanish-speaking sub-Saharan African and Afro-Latinx Caribbean diasporas, Decolonizing Diasporas argues that the works of diasporic writers and artists from Equatorial Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba offer new worldviews that unsettle and dismantle the logics of colonial modernity. With women of color feminisms and decolonial theory as frameworks, Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez juxtaposes Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic diasporic artists, analyzing work by Nelly Rosario, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Trifonia Melibea Obono, Donato Ndongo, Junot Díaz, Aracelis Girmay, Loida Maritza Pérez, Ernesto Quiñonez, Christina Olivares, Joaquín Mbomio Bacheng, Ibeyi, Daniel José Older, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Figueroa-Vásquez’s study reveals the thematic, conceptual, and liberatory tools these artists offer when read in relation to one another.
Decolonizing Diasporas examines how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped in these works by tracing interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention. Figueroa-Vásquez contends that these diasporic literatures reveal violence but also forms of resistance and the radical potential of Afro-futurities.
This study centers the cultural productions of peoples of African descent as Afro-diasporic imaginaries that subvert coloniality and offer new ways to approach questions of home, location, belonging, and justice.
“Diaspora studies will never be the same again: Figueroa-Vásquez’s book turns our attention to ties between the Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea and the Caribbean, and its insights will reverberate across Latinx, Black, American and African studies. Reading work that circulates and resonates in multiple ways across the Atlantic, this is a book that brings together decolonial, critical race, and multilingual approaches to propose a wholly new cartography for the Black Atlantic, bringing timely new attention on the Hispanophone world.” —Tsitsi Jaji, author of Mother Tongues: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2019)
“Decolonizing Diasporas is a tour-de-force: it realigns how we think of Latinx literary studies so that the field includes the literature of Equatorial Guinea, thereby necessarily confronting the anti-blackness and, more specifically, anti-Africanness, that has historically been foundational to our discipline. Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez provides for us a prototype by which to question, interrogate, reconsider, and reconfigure Afro-Atlantic Hispanophone subjectivity; everyone who studies the African continent and its diasporas should read this book.” —Vanessa K. Valdés, author of Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg