Settler colonialism in unexpected places: Rhone Fraser, ‘Confronting Prospero: Elizabeth Nunez’s Exposure and Critique of Hegemony and Its Industries in Beyond the Limbo Silence and Boundaries’, Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, 10, 8, 2017, pp. 89-105


Abstract: […] sociologist Robert L. Allen writes about how liberalism is defended by a kind of Black tokenism run by hegemony that puts Black individuals in high administrative places only to still continue an economic system based on these exclusions. Elizabeth Nunez crafts stories with protagonists that confront liberalism the way Prospero tried to confront and murder Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This paper will discuss how Nunez in her fiction specifically exposes liberalism in the academic and book publishing in her second and eighth novels (Beyond the Limbo Silence and Boundaries) in ways that challenge hegemony and its liberalism. Nunez shows through her protagonist Sara in Beyond the Limbo Silence, how her scholarship from her fictional College of the Sacred Heart depended on her distancing herself from the local Black population and see herself in isolation from the emerging civil rights movement. Through her protagonist Anna in Boundaries, Nunez shows how her function in the book publishing industry required her promoting books for their “commercial value” and not “their aesthetic and intellectual merits.” Through her protagonist Emile in “Even In Paradise,” Nunez shows how the newspaper industry in Jamaica is run by editors who dont want writers, like Emile’s love interest Corinne, writing pieces deeply “involved in politics.” Although Nunez’s novels make incredibly profound statements on the dysfunction of Black tokenism in these academic, book publishing and newspaper industries, her protagonists except Sara, ultimately commit to joining these tokenist systems and make profound statements on the hegemony’s still influential propaganda that discourages independent ownership by Black communities of schools and presses.

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