Honoring Diversity: Self-Discovery and the "Voice of the Other" in Selected African American and Caribbean Works

Dr. Barbara Paul-Emile
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This paper will examine the differences in self-concept between members of marginalized and dominant groups in racially and socially stratified societies as reflected in the writings of selected African American and Caribbean authors such as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Jacques Roumain and Jean Rhys. This study will examine the construction of the "self" that these muted voices present to the world, focusing on the nature of the "double consciousness" that members of marginalized groups manifest and the masks adopted for self-protection. The tension between socially prescribed roles and personally defined ones are central to the study to the "voices" of the "other." Attention will be paid to the ways in which these "voices" serve to fill in the blank spaces in society's knowledge of itself by presenting what has been left out of the dominant picture. These "voices" are the conscience of the nation.

Keywords: Racial Identity, Ethnic, African American, Caribbean, College English Class, Literature and English, Minority, Diversity
Stream: Identity, Belonging, Learning, Education, Training, Representations: Media, Communications, Arts, Literature
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Honoring Diversity

Dr. Barbara Paul-Emile

Maurice E. Goldman Distinguished Professor of English, Department of English, Bentley College

Professor of English and the Maurice E. Goldman Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, received her BA and MA from New York University and her Ph. D. from the University of Colorado. Professor Paul-Emile's work centers on 19th century English literature, Caribbean literature, and African-American literature. This breadth allows her to combine her interest in myth and third world literature with her knowledge of European colonial literary influences. Her expertise and enthusiasm in the classroom was recognized at the national level when she was named Massachusetts Professor of the Year in 1994 by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Support and Advancement of Education. While producing numerous articles on professional topics, she has also engaged in extensive creative writing. Her voice in Caribbean literature is an original one with cross-cultural appeal. She has completed a novel, "Seer", published by Sunstar, 2004. Her collection of poetry, "Thoughtforms", will be available in April, 2005. She is currently at work on "Spirit of the Warrior Woman" and a collection of her published short fiction.

Ref: D05P0231