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Lontano dal Paradiso: identità nera e (non) appartenenza in We Need New Names di NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo is a journey between two delusive heavens: the shanty town ironically named Paradise (in Zimbabwe) – with its urban and human blight, but where the protagonist, Darling, cherishes a sense of home – and the United States, the “Western Paradise” par excellence, the land of the American Dream – which turns out to be unattainable for illegal/undocumented migrants. They are trapped in a limbo in which the social invisibility they suffer contrasts with the hyper-visibility they are subjected to as black bodies, making them potential targets for racial hatred. Borrowing from Stuart Hall’s concept of cultural identity and analyzing the implications of the new identities embodied by the recent diasporas, this essay focuses on Bulawayo’s novel as an example of how the literature of New African Diaspora manages to convey a problematic, multifaceted image of blackness. Indeed, through the voices of Darling and of the two worlds she inhabits, the novel ultimately creates a conversation between Afropolitanism and Afropessimism, thus portraying a hybrid identity in which different consciousnesses often tend to collide instead of blending together.

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Chiara Patrizi
titolo rivista di riferimento: 
Blackness, America nera e nuova diaspora africana
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