Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination

Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination

Book Pages: 464 Illustrations: 2 illustrations Published: January 2016

American Studies, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The first sustained critical examination of the work of Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz, this interdisciplinary collection considers how Díaz's writing illuminates the world of Latino cultural expression and trans-American and diasporic literary history. Interested in conceptualizing Díaz's decolonial imagination and his radically re-envisioned world, the contributors show how his aesthetic and activist practice reflect a significant shift in American letters toward a hemispheric and planetary culture. They examine the intersections of race, Afro-Latinidad, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, and power in Díaz's work. Essays in the volume explore issues of narration, language, and humor in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the racialized constructions of gender and sexuality in Drown and This Is How You Lose Her, and the role of the zombie in the short story "Monstro." Collectively, they situate Díaz’s writing in relation to American and Latin American literary practices and reveal the author’s activist investments. The volume concludes with Paula Moya's interview with Díaz.

Contributors: Glenda R. Carpio, Arlene Dávila, Lyn Di Iorio, Junot Díaz, Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Ylce Irizarry, Claudia Milian, Julie Avril Minich, Paula M. L. Moya, Sarah Quesada, José David Saldívar, Ramón Saldívar, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Deborah R. Vargas


"Essential reading for casual readers as well as students and scholars of Junot Díaz's literary production." — Marisel Moreno, Modern Fiction Studies

"A groundbreaking publication which unpacks the levels of complexity of Díaz’s writing and paves the way for future lines of inquiry into his work." — Laura Gallon, Textual Practice

"Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination is as wondrous as the work of the author inspiring it. It contains a rich sampling of interdisciplinary Latino/a studies brilliance that reflects from myriad perspectives the stunning singular influence of Díaz's work. A vibrant analysis of contemporary Latino/a cultural politics and a major contribution."  — Richard T. Rodriguez, author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics

"Powerfully seductive and so cagey that literary classics and models become mere forerunners of his own moves, Junot Díaz does more than delight us. He also arrests the attention of critical readers who accompany him, in great style and subtle substance. This collection of brilliant essays follows Junot’s masterful lead to give historical, sociological, linguistic, but primarily and gloriously stylistic accounts of his wrestling American English into an ethnically mixed medium of decolonized compositions." — Doris Sommer, author of The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities

“To have my work written about so brilliantly is an honor beyond dreams.” — Junot Díaz Facebook


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Monica Hanna is Assistant Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

Jennifer Harford Vargas is Assistant Professor of English at Bryn Mawr College.

José David Saldívar is Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University and the author of Trans-Americanity: Subaltern Modernities, Global Coloniality, and the Cultures of Greater Mexico, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii

Editors' Introduction. Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination: From Island to Empire / Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, and José David Saldívar  1

Part I. Activist Aesthetics

1. Against the "Discursive Latino": On the Politics and Praxis of Junot Díaz's Latinidad / Arlene Dávila  33

2. The Decolonizer's Guide to Disability / Julie Avril Minich  49

3. Laughing through a Broken Mouth in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / Lyn Di Iorio  69

4. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Cannibalist: Reading Yunior (Writing) in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / Monica Hanna  89

Part II. Mapping Literary Geographies

5. Artistry, Ancestry, and Americanness in the Works of Junot Díaz / Silvio Torres-Saillant  115

6. This Is How You Lose it: Navigating Dominicanidad in Junot Díaz's Drown / Ylce Irizarry  147

7. Latino/a Deracination and the New Latin American Novel / Claudia Milian  173

8. Dictating a Zafa: The Power of Narrative Form as Ruin-Reading / Jennifer Harford Vargas  201

Part III. Doing Race in Spanglish

9. Dismantling the Master's House: The Decolonial Literary Imaginations of Audre Lorde and Junot Díaz / Paula M. L. Moya  231

10. Now Check It: Junot Díaz's Wondrous Spanglish / Glenda R. Carpio  257

11. A Planetary Warning?: The Multilayered Caribbean Zombie in "Monstro" / Sarah Quesada  291

Part IV. Desiring Decolonization

12. Junot Díaz's Search for Decolonial Aesthetics and Love / José David Saldívar  321

13. Sucia Love: Losing, Lying, and Leaving in Junot Díaz's This Is How You Lose Her / Deborah R. Vargas  351

14. "Christe Apocalyptus": Prospero in the Caribbean and the Art of Power / Ramón Saldívar  377

15. The Search for Decolonial Love: A Conversation between Junot Díaz and Paula M. L. Moya  391

Bibliography  403

Contributors  425

Index  431
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6033-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6024-7
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