Reconfiguring Citizenship and National Identity in the North American Literary Imagination.

Author:Mason, Jack
Position:Book review
 
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Reconfiguring Citizenship and National Identity in the North American Literary Imagination

Kathy-Ann Tan

Wayne State University Press

The Leonard N. Simons Building

4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309

http://wsupress.wayne.edu

9780814341407, $44.99, HC, 432pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Literature has always played a central role in creating and disseminating culturally specific notions of citizenship, nationhood, and belonging. In "Reconfiguring Citizenship and National Identity in the North American Literary Imagination", Kathy-Ann Tan (Associate Professor of American Studies at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany) investigates metaphors, configurations, parameters, and articulations of U.S. and Canadian citizenship that are enacted, renegotiated, and revised in modern literary texts, particularly during periods of emergence and crisis.

Professor Tan brings together for the first time a selection of canonical and lesser-known U.S. and Canadian writings for critical consideration. She begins by exploring literary depiction of "willful" or "wayward" citizens and those with precarious bodies that are viewed as threatening, undesirable, unacceptable-including refugees and asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, deportees, and stateless people. She also considers the rights to citizenship and political membership claimed by queer bodies and an examination of "new" and alternative forms of citizenship, such as denizenship, urban citizenship, diasporic citizenship, and Indigenous citizenship. With case studies based on works by a diverse collection of authors-including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Djuna Barnes, Etel Adnan, Sarah Schulman, Walt Whitman, Gail Scott, and Philip Roth-Tan uncovers...

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