Feminist Identity of Young African-American Girls in Virginia Hamilton’s Novels

Alhouzaim, Shaden A. (2020) Feminist Identity of Young African-American Girls in Virginia Hamilton’s Novels. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This thesis argues that the children and young-adult fiction produced by Virginia Hamilton between 1967 and 1999 represents African-American girls’ feminist identity through five thematic divisions—upmothering, adolescent friendship as sisterhood, historical trauma, adolescent leadership and empowering representations of the Black female body. I believe that this scrutiny of Hamilton’s fiction is significant to the exploration of critical and theoretical implications in post-colonial children’s literature. The exploration of Black girls’ connection to feminism in Hamilton’s books is carried through an interdisciplinary framework of Black society, history, psychology, literature and visual arts by analysing the selected narratives of Zeely (1967), Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (1982), Justice and her Brothers (1978), Cousins (1990) and Bluish (1999), through which the cultural, social and visual representations of Black girls’ feminist identity are manifested and explored. The findings of this thesis contribute to post-colonial feminist trends in children’s literature by highlighting how feminist identity is created in Black young-adult and adolescent fiction. My analysis of the selected novels reveals Hamilton’s creative liberating consciousness that celebrates intersectional feminist identity by denoting empowering cultural models of upmothering as a limited division of Black othermothering practices. She also reintroduces other influential children’s practices such as adolescent friendship as sisterhood, historical trauma as a communal concern, adolescent leadership as a collective work advantageous to children while cooperating in groups, and finally, empowering representations of the Black female body as an able-bodied cultural agent. The findings of this research facilitate in understanding a genre of literary racial contexts of resistance, resilience, empowerment and multiculturalism in children’s literature. Furthermore, they include an extension of theorisation regarding Black othermothering, as well as sisterhood and leadership concepts, which serve to enrich the theorisation of Black children’s literature.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Virginia Hamilton, Children’s Literature, Black Feminism, Upmothering, Disability
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 12:03
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:53
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706798

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