Translational Space and Creolising Aesthetics in Three Women’s Novels: the Diasporic Turn

Anim-Addo, Joan. 2013. 'Translational Space and Creolising Aesthetics in Three Women’s Novels: the Diasporic Turn'. In: Perspectives from 'Other' Cultures Translating Cultures. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 20-22 September. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This paper proposes the notion of translational space to consider the classroom and the literary text as crucial though differentiated spaces of translation. The idea of ‘translational space’ borrows from Doreen Massey’s elaboration of space as a ‘complex web of relations of domination and subordination, of solidarity and cooperation’ (Massey 31). Interlinking the complexity of Massey’s ‘web’ with an intention to translate, I am concerned to interrogate how selected Caribbean diasporic texts might be shown to engage a process of translation, and for whom especially, since Lamming’s pronouncement concerning the West Indian writer, that ‘[h]e writes always for the foreign reader’ (1960). What is the translational impetus of a later generation of writers who Lamming was unable to imagine, namely, women authors of the region?

Central to my enquiry is the diasporic imaginary represented in Beryl Gilroy’s In Praise of Love and Children (1996), Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004), and Velma Pollard’s Karl (2008). I refer to an imaginary which places black women characters at or near the centre of the novel; is concerned with a dialogic representation of the other, heightens issues of Creole or Caribbean identity, and figures, through its aesthetics, the diaspora as contested space whether public or intimate. Arising from this, my large question concerns the Creole diasporic imaginary and meanings that might be inferred in terms of aesthetics and translational space. I propose to explore the fictional representation of Caribbean lives ‘on the move’ in Cresswell’s terms (2006) and their meanings in relation to an increasingly transnational representation. In their gendering of creolisation, diaspora and race, how do the writers translate the spatial interface that their characters negotiate? Whether in memories of Toronto in Pollard’s writing or the London of Levy’s and Gilroy’s fiction, how do these texts represent space not only as culture crossings but also as translational space within the ‘new triangle’ that contests and dislodges notions of identity? What part does the dislocated Creole cosmopolitan play in such translation, and how might the classroom as translational space assist the process of translation?

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Additional Information:

AHRC Grant: AH/J001899/1.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature
English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Caribbean Studies


20 September 2013Completed

Event Location:

Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom

Date range:

20-22 September

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Sep 2014 10:35

Last Modified:

23 Jun 2017 13:24


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