From Shadow to Presence

Jelena Šesnić. From Shadow to Presence: Representations of Ethnicity in Contemporary American Literature. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2007.

This volume departs from a more static concept of identity politics to engage the varied and entangled processes of ethnic/racial, national, and gender identifications in a range of contemporary US ethnic texts (from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s). Recognizing the growing salience of variously named ethnic, multicultural, and minority literatures as they are produced and circulated in the USA and worldwide nowadays, this work charts four broadly defined models of approaching such texts: cultural nationalism, ethnic feminism, borderlands and contact zones, and finally, the diasporic model. Drawing extensively on psychoanalytic theory, feminist/gender studies, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, and its revision of ethnography, the book offers a fresh, engaged, theoretically, and analytically well-rehearsed overview of the distinctive and determining features of a rapidly expanding domain of contemporary US literary production, namely, ethnic literatures. Of potential interest to scholars of American/US literature, but also minority and postcolonial literatures, and to students of American literature, the book attempts an interethnic comparative approach to well- and lesser-known texts. Among the authors represented are Shawn Wong, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sherman Alexie, Denise Chávez, Rolando Hinojosa, Roberto Fernández and Edwidge Danticat.