Look Away! considers the U.S. South in relation to Latin America and the Caribbean. Given that some of the major characteristics that mark the South as exceptional within the United States—including the legacies of a plantation economy and slave trade—are common to most of the Americas, Look Away! points to postcolonial studies as perhaps the best perspective from which to comprehend the U.S. South. At the same time it shows how, as part of the United States, the South—both center and margin, victor and defeated, and empire and colony—complicates ideas of the postcolonial. The twenty-two essays in this comparative, interdisciplinary collection rethink southern U.S. identity, race, and the differences and commonalities between the cultural productions and imagined communities of the U.S. South and Latin America.
Look Away! presents work by respected scholars in comparative literature, American studies, and Latin American studies. The contributors analyze how writers—including the Martinican Edouard Glissant, the Cuban-American Gustavo Pérez Firmat, and the Trinidad-born, British V. S. Naipaul—have engaged with the southern United States. They explore William Faulkner’s role in Latin American thought and consider his work in relation to that of Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Many essays re-examine major topics in southern U.S. culture—such as race, slavery, slave resistance, and the legacies of the past—through the lens of postcolonial theory and postmodern geography. Others discuss the South in relation to the U.S.–Mexico border. Throughout the volume,the contributors consistently reconceptualize U.S. southern culture in a way that acknowledges its postcolonial status without diminishing its distinctiveness.
Contributors. Jesse Alemán, Bob Brinkmeyer, Debra Cohen, Deborah Cohn, Michael Dash, Leigh Anne Duck, Wendy Faris, Earl Fitz, George Handley, Steve Hunsaker, Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Dane Johnson, Richard King, Jane Landers, John T. Matthews, Stephanie Merrim, Helen Oakley, Vincent Pérez, John-Michael Rivera, Scott Romine, Jon Smith, Ilan Stavans, Philip Weinstein, Lois Parkinson Zamora