• The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism

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    Pages: 240
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction. "Jamaica Crawled Into My Soul": Black Women, Affect, and the Promise of Diaspora  1
    Interlude  27
    1. More Than a Groove: Pursuing Happiness as a Political Project  31
    Interlude  63
    2. "Giving Back" to Jamaica: Experiencing Community and Conflict While Traveling with Diasporic Heart  65
    Interlude  95
    3. Why Jamaica? Seeking the Fantasy of a Black Paradise  99
    Interlude  121
    4. Breaking (It) Down: Gender, Emotional Entanglements, and the Realities of Romance Tourism  123
    Interlude  159
    5. Navigating (Virtual) Jamaica: Online Diasporic Contact Zones  163
    Interlude  185
    Epilogue. Lessons Learned  187
    Notes  197
    Bibliography  209
    Index  221
  • "Breathtaking. . . . Simply reading this book felt like an act of self-care for me—a breath of fresh air."

    Reviews

  • "Breathtaking. . . . Simply reading this book felt like an act of self-care for me—a breath of fresh air."

  • "This is the book that I have been anxiously waiting for. The Pursuit of Happiness is about how electronic media enables a group of middle-class black American women to find peace, love, and friendship outside their geographical space. This novel and innovative ethnography pushes the boundaries of what anthropology can be considered in its broadest definition." — A. Lynn Bolles, author of, Sister Jamaica: A Study of Women, Work, and Households in Kingston

    The Pursuit of Happiness is an engaging book that makes an important contribution to scholarship on tourism in the Caribbean. Bianca C. Williams's vivid language and keen analysis of her respondents are particularly enjoyable, and her interview data—which was obviously collected with care—make for a very rich and interesting read.” — Jafari Allen, author of, iVenceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba

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  • Description

    In The Pursuit of Happiness Bianca C. Williams traces the experiences of African American women as they travel to Jamaica, where they address the perils and disappointments of American racism by looking for intimacy, happiness, and a connection to their racial identities. Through their encounters with Jamaican online communities and their participation in trips organized by Girlfriend Tours International, the women construct notions of racial, sexual, and emotional belonging by forming relationships with Jamaican men and other "girlfriends." These relationships allow the women to exercise agency and find happiness in ways that resist the damaging intersections of racism and patriarchy in the United States. However, while the women require a spiritual and virtual connection to Jamaica in order to live happily in the United States, their notion of happiness relies on travel, which requires leveraging their national privilege as American citizens. Williams's theorization of "emotional transnationalism" and the construction of affect across diasporic distance attends to the connections between race, gender, and affect while highlighting how affective relationships mark nationalized and gendered power differentials within the African diaspora.

    About The Author(s)

    Bianca C. Williams is Associate Professor of Anthropology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.
Fall 2018
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