Cultural Autonomy as Impregnable Armour: Locating Black Feminist Autoethnography in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day
The present paper argues that Gloria Naylor's Mama Day (1988) embodies Black Feminist Autoethnography that critiques and commemorates her spectacular art of constructing cultural-autonomy within the marginal sphere of Willow Springs, permitting the inhabitants, especially the women of the island, to shield their individual identities, as well as combat the hegemonic pseudo power-structure. By eliminating the conventions of white contemporary bureaus, and alternatively putting up rational sets of credence, ethics, and practices, the novel embellishes the rhetorical manufacturing of cultural-autonomy, ultimately encapsulating the ethical-cum-mythical undertakings of the Black America. This effectuation of their own ethical reservoirs by these resistive cultures eventually helps in defending their distinctiveness and autonomy, in order to give a substitutive formulation to their standpoints, as well as to provide the associates of the white hegemonic power structure with an insightful critical assessment of their own ethnicity. Further, the paper bluntly negates the conjecture of ethnographic convictions, and relentlessly confronts the colonizing supremacy of objectified fractional truths because objectivity as well as aloofness vis-a-vis the field setting ultimately results in a failure to gather any information and statistics worth examining, as offered through the prototypical narrative of Reema's Boy and George. Instead, using autoethnographic subjectification as an arsenal tool, the chapter contemplates over the magnitude of fabricating cultural-autonomy that empowers the quintessential women characters of Willow Springs, like Mama Day, Sapphira Wade, and Cocoa, to defy the etiquettes of an obsolete universalism, and to construct their distinct standpoints.
Vats, Adishree and Kumar, Anurag
"Cultural Autonomy as Impregnable Armour: Locating Black Feminist Autoethnography in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
1, Article 17.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss1/17