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Clear Word and Third Sight Folk Groundings and Diasporic Consciousness in African Caribbean Writing by Catherine John

Clear Word and Third Sight Folk Groundings and Diasporic Consciousness in African Caribbean Writing

Part of the New Americanists Series


Clear Word and Third Sight Folk Groundings and Diasporic Consciousness in African Caribbean Writing by Catherine John

Clear Word and Third Sight examines the strands of a collective African diasporic consciousness represented in the work of a number of Black Caribbean writers. Catherine A. John shows how a shared consciousness, or third sight, is rooted in both pre- and postcolonial cultural practices and disseminated through a rich oral tradition. This consciousness has served diasporic communities by creating an alternate philosophical worldsense linking those of African descent across space and time.Contesting popular discourses about what constitutes culture and maintaining that neglected strains in negritude discourse provide a crucial philosophical perspective on the connections between folk practices, cultural memory, and collective consciousness, John examines the diasporic principles in the work of the negritude writers Leon Damas, Aime Cesaire, and Leopold Senghor. She traces the manifestations and reworkings of their ideas in Afro-Caribbean writing from the eastern and French Caribbean, as well as the Caribbean diaspora in the United States. The authors she discusses include Jamaica Kincaid, Earl Lovelace, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Audre Lorde, Paule Marshall, and Edouard Glissant, among others. John argues that by incorporating what she calls folk groundings-such as poems, folktales, proverbs, and songs-into their work, Afro-Caribbean writers invoke a psychospiritual consciousness which combines old and new strategies for addressing the ongoing postcolonial struggle.


Clear Word and Third Sight itself offers clarity and vision in a new and insightful reading of African diaspora literatures. Catherine A. John offers a necessary revisiting of negritude, a confidence in her examination of coloniality and gendered identity, and an embrace of magic and spirit and poetry. -Carole Boyce Davies, Florida International University Clear Word and Third Sight casts new light upon the argument of alternative consciousness by using relatively unknown writers and poets, particularly from the English and French West Indies, along with better known diasporic and American writers. It will be of significant interest to scholars concerned with discourses of difference rooted in notions of being and understanding that are not Western or Euro-centered. -Percy C. Hintzen, author of West Indian in the West: Self-Representations in an Immigrant Community

About the Author

Catherine A. John is Assistant Professor of African Diasporic Literature at the University of Oklahoma.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th October 2003


Catherine John

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Duke University Press


248 pages


Cultural studies
Literary studies: general



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