I am presenting a paper called “‘Entangling Encounters’: Transnational and Intertextual Exchanges in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric” at the Beyond Borders conference in UCC this Friday the 29th of June 2018. A longer version of this paper will be published in a forthcoming edited collection called Process and Practice: Adaptation Considered as a Collaborative Act with Palgrave. The collection is edited by Bernadette Cronin, Nikolai Preuschoff and Rachel MagShamhráin.
I am also invited to participate in a roundtable alongside Mr Mark O´Halloran, Dr Pat Crowley, Dr Amanullah de Sondy, Dr Kathy Glavanis-Grantham, Dr Kate Hodgson, Dr Conrad James, Prof Lee Jenkins and Prof Janet Polasky.
The abstract for my paper and my slides are below:
Jamaican American poet Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem, Citizen: An American Lyric chronicles personal and public examples of racial micro-aggressions to investigate the depth to which racism is ingrained in day-to-day life.
In their introduction to The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, Claudia Rankine and Beth Lauffreda define one of the tropes of writing about race as “the anxious, entangling encounters with others.” This paper explores how Rankine develops “entangling encounters” that go beyond interpersonal exchanges and into transnational and intertextual ones.
Alongside the everyday micro-aggressions, Rankine adapts infamous racist instances. For example, she explores the Zinedine Zidane incident at the 2006 World Cup Final during which the French footballer was sent off for head-butting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in response to racial slurs. It receives a frame-by-frame replay and deconstruction in a section of Citizen called “October 10, 2006 / World Cup” and in an accompanying short film called “Situation 1.”
I argue that Rankine engages with a series of transnational, intertextual, and crosspoetic interlocutors, and as such Citizen defies concrete definition as a poem. Its poetic and dialogic borders are porous, leaking out and soaking in transnational and intertextual exchanges that reflect Rankine’s challenge to US-centric dominant narratives about racism.