Nadège Clitandre, Disasporic Imaginaries: Edwidge Danticat and the Echo Chamber
Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat is one of the most recognized writers in North America and around the world today. In 1998, her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory became an Oprah Book Club selection, and her novel Krik? Krak! was nominated for the National Book Award. In Edwidge Danticat: The Haitian Diasporic Imaginary, Dr. Nadège T. Clitandre offers a comprehensive analysis of Danticat’s work in the context of the relationships she explores between nation, diaspora, and identity. Clitandre argues that Danticat—moving between novels, short stories, and essays—articulates a diasporic consciousness that acts as a form of social, political, and cultural transformation at the local and global level. Unlike articulations of diaspora that are foregrounded to complicate the notion of the nation-state, Danticat does not simply privilege diaspora over nation. Rather, as Clitandre argues, Danticat calls for a reconstitution of nation through a diasporic imaginary that informs the way people who have experienced displacement view the world (past and present), allowing them to imagine a more cohesive future. In this talk, Clitandre explores the ways in which the trope of the echo can be used to approach Danticat's diasporic narratives and subjects specifically, and analyze the contours of a diasporic imaginary more broadly.
Nadège T. Clitandre is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies at UCSB, where she also holds affiliate positions with the Departments of Black Studies and Comparative Literature. She is also the Haiti coordinator of the Haiti Projects at UCSB’s Center for Black Studies Research. Clitandre works on theoretical frameworks of the African Diaspora, migration and displacement, and transnationalism with a particular focus on Haiti and Haitian diasporic literature. Her teaching interests include diaspora studies, anticolonial literature, postcolonial Caribbean Women’s literature, and NGO and Humanitarian intervention in Haiti post-earthquake. She is also the founder of Haiti Soleil, a nonprofit organization that focuses on engaging youth and building community through the development of libraries in Haiti.