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

Authors

  • Isabel Beltrán Universitat de València

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

References

AMBEDKAR, B. R. (2014). Annihilation of Caste. London: Verso.

ANDERSON, LINDA (2001). Autobiography, New York: Routledge.

ARORA, NEHA (2007). “Bama’s Women: The Wrinkled Faces or The Balls Bouncing Back?”, Scholar Critic Vol. 4, Nº2, August: 1-14.

ASTON, N. M. (2001). “Introduction”, In: N. M. Aston (ed). Literature of Marginality: Dalit Literature and African American Literature, New Delhi: Prestige: 1-20.

BAMA (2012). Karukku. 1992. Translation by Lakshmi Holmstöm, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BAMA (2018). “Dalit Feminist Activist Writes Back: Bama Faustina in Conversation with Jaydeep Sarangi”, Writers in Conversation, Vol. 5, Nº1, February: 1-8.

BATLIWALA, SRILATHA (2008). Changing Their World Concepts and Practices of Women’s Movements, New Delhi: Brijbasi Art Press.

BECKER, ELIZABETH C. (1992). “Harriet Jacobs’s Search for Home”, CLA Journal, Vol. 35, Nº4: 411-421.

BLASSINGAME, JOHN (1972). The Slave Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BRAXTON, JOANNE M. (2010). “Autobiography and African American Women’s Literature”, In: Angelyn Mitchell & Danille K. Taylor (eds). The Cambridge Companion to African American Women’s Literature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 128-149.

CARBY, HAZEL V. (1987). Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DAVIS, ADRIENNE D. (2003). “Slavery and the Roots of Sexual Harassment”, In: Catharine MacKinnon & Reva B. Siegel (eds). Directions in Sexual Harassment, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press: 457-478.

GANGULY, SRITI (2018). “Social Construction of a Segregated Urban Space and Its Effects on Education: A Case Study of the Balmikis of Delhi”, Contemporary Education Dialogue, Vol. 15, Nº1: 51-72.

GORRINGE, HUGO (2017). Panthers in Parliament: Dalits, Caste, and Political Power in South India. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199468157.001.0001

GUHA, RANAJIT (1988). “Preface”, In: Ranajit Guha & Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (eds). Selected Subaltern Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 35-36.

JACOBS, HARRIET A. (1987). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Jean Fagan Yellin (ed). Belknap Press: Harvard University Press.

MANUEL, CARME (1998). “Women but not Sisters: Harriet A. Jacobs’s Angered Literary Reply to Harriet B. Stowe”, Revista de Estudios Norteamericanos, Vol. 6: 35-50.

NAYAR, PRAMOD K. (2006). “Bama’s Karukku: Dalit Autobiography as Testimonio”, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. 41, Nº2: 83-100. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021989406065773

OLNEY, JAMES (1993). “The Value of Autobiography for Comparative Studies. African versus Western Autobiography”, In: William L. Andrews (ed). African American Autobiography: A Collection of Critical Essays, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall: 212-223.

PAIK, SHAILAJA (2014). “Building Bridges: Articulating Dalit and African American Women’s Solidarity”, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Vol. 42, Nº3-4 Fall/Winter: 74-96.

PANDEY, GYANENDRA (2009a). “Introduction: The Subaltern as Subaltern Citizen”, In: Gyanendra Pandey (ed). Subaltern Citizens and their Histories: Investigations from India and the USA, New York: Routledge: 1-12.

REGE, SHARMILA (1998). “Dalit Women Talk Differently”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 33, Nº44, October-November: 39-46.

ROSE, LEEMA (2014). “Indian Subaltern Feminism and American Black Womanism”. 13 April, 9th International Academic Conference, Istanbul. https://ideas.repec.org/p/sek/iacpro/0100872.html

ROY, ARUNDHATI (2014). “Introduction: The Doctor and the Saint”. In: B. R. Ambedkar. Annihilation of Caste, London: Verso: 17-179.

SHERMAN, SARAH W. (1990). “Moral Experience in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, NWSA Journal, Vol. 2, Nº2, Spring: 167-185.

SIVANARAYANAN, ANUSHIYA (2009). “Translation and Globalization: Tamil Dalit Literature and Bama’s Karukku”, In: Nalini Iyer & Bonnie Zare (eds). Other Tongues Rethinking the Language Debates in India Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi: 135-154.

SPIVAK, GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY (1988). “Introduction. Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing History”, In: Ranajit Guha & Gayatri Chakravorty Spiva (eds). Selected Subaltern Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 3-32.

SWINDELLS, JULIA (1995). “Introduction”, In: Julia Swindells (ed). The Uses of Autobiography. London, New York: Routledge: 1-12.

ZENE, COSIMO (2020). “Self-consciousness of the Dalits as ‘Subalterns’: Reflections on Gramsci in South Asia”, Reflections on Gramsci in South Asia: Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society, Vol. 23, Nº1: 83-99.

Published

07-04-2021

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.