Voicing the Subaltern in African-American and Dalit Women's Autobiographies


  • Isabel Beltrán Universitat de València


This paper aims to analyse two major autobiographies of Dalit women’s literature and African American women’s writing – Karukku (1992) by Bama Faustina and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) by Harriet A. Jacobs – to bring forth the similarities between these two groups of subaltern women. Through the means of autobiography, both writers transmit their own experiences and denounce the gender, race and caste oppression endured. The subaltern theory coined by Antonio Gramsci and developed by Gayatri Spivak will be used to analyse these texts and the way they establish a link between two different worlds as well as how they share the common objective of making their narrators’ exclusion visible in their patriarchal worlds.


Bama, Harriet A. Jacobs, Dalit, African American, caste system, slaver, subaltern


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