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Aggiornare l’Atlantico nero: nuove concezioni di nazione, agency e solidarietà nelle opere di Dinaw Mengestu

This essay positions itself within the debate on the limits of Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic paradigm (1993) in order to better understand narrative conceptualizations of African diasporas through an analysis of the works of the Ethiopian American author Dinaw Mengestu. Gilroy suggests that the artistic and intellectual production of members of the Black Atlantic indicates an overcoming of the idea of nation, affirming that an individual’s journey is more significant than their nation of origin. Differently than what Gilroy proposes, Mengestu does not reject the idea of nation, rather he renews its very concept through the central positioning of the native land and the various countries of arrival of the Ethiopian protagonist in All Our Names (2014). Theauthor further expands upon Gilroy’s model, which mainly focused on the experience of men, through female characters like Miriam, an Ethiopian immigrant in How to Read the Air (2010) who strenuously fights to affirm her own voice, thus displaying an effective use of agency. Unlike the critics (Chude-Sokei 2014; Duboine 2017), who see in Mengestu’s works evidence of the existing tension between African Americans and new African immigrants in the United States, the present article argues that Mengestu, while exploring such tension, also creates moments of positive contact between the two groups. Mengestu’s works, therefore, demonstrate that the nature of these  relationships cannot be taken for granted neither as fully antagonistic, nor as always characterized by a sense of blind solidarity based on skin color alone.

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Brandon Michael Cleverly Breen
titolo rivista di riferimento: 
Blackness, America nera e nuova diaspora africana
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