'New Living the old in a new way’: home and queer migrations in Audre Lorde’s Zami

Bolaki, Stella (2011) 'New Living the old in a new way’: home and queer migrations in Audre Lorde’s Zami. Textual Practice, 25 (4). pp. 779-798. ISSN 0950-236X. E-ISSN 1470-1308. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2011.586784) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2011.586784

Abstract

This essay looks back to an older queer of colour text, Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name that rethinks narrow formulations of the relation of queer and diasporic subjects to the space of ‘home’ before these debates emerged in queer diasporic criticism. Drawing on critics who have suggested that queer migrations entail remaking rather than leaving home, most notably Anne-Marie Fortier and Gayatri Gopinath, I argue that Zami challenges idealized conceptions of home and belonging without abandoning these concepts altogether. My analysis starts by showing how Lorde, departing from the Anglo-American tradition of the lesbian Bildungsroman, queers the ancestral homeland and the childhood home through a kind of translation that demonstrates the dynamic relationship between ethnicity and sexuality in female queer diasporic narratives. It then turns to the lesbian community as theoretical home and traces the process of ‘making home’ exemplified in Zami. Rather than being a straightforward project, this requires continuously attaching home to, and detaching it from, relationships, communities, and places or, in Lorde's words, living in the ‘house of difference’. In reading Lorde's biomythography through the theoretical lens of queer diaspora, my essay seeks to keep open the text's capacity to speak beyond its historical moment: Zami which has been typically read as a work that serves the ‘convenient’ function of ‘making vivid a Black lesbian's position in the world’ looks forward to theorizations of queer diasporas and offers important insights to questions of home and un/belonging.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Audre Lorde, Zami, queer diaspora, home, black lesbian
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stella Bolaki
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2014 09:37 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40599 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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