Trans/national dis/connections: Silenced networks and strained belongings with reference to Albinia Catherine MacKay and Una Marson

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This paper seeks to examine the particular operations of gender and cultural politics that both shaped and restrained possible 'networked' interactions between Jamaican women and their British 'motherlands' during the first forty years of the twentieth century. Paying particular attention to the poetry of Albinia Catherine MacKay (a Scots Creole) and the political journalism of Una Marson (a black Jamaica), I shall seek to examine why both writers speak in and of voices out of place. MacKay's poems work against the critical pull of transnational modernism to reveal aesthetic and cultural isolation through a model of strained belonging in relation to both her Jamaica home and an ancestral Scotland. A small number of poems from her 1912 collection that are dedicated to the historical struggle between the English and Scots for the rule of Scotland and cultural self-determination, some of which are written in a Scottish idiom, may help us to read the complex cultural negotiations that silently inform the seemingly in commensurability of location and locution revealed in these works. In contrast, Marson's journalism, although less known even than her creative writings, is both politically and intellectually radical in its arguments concerning the mutual articulation of race and gender empowerment. However, Marson remains aware of her inability to articulate these convictions with force in a British context and thereby of the way in which speaking out of place also silences her.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModernist Women Race Nation
Subtitle of host publicationNetworking Women 1890-1950 Circum-Atalantic Connections
EditorsGiovanni Covi
PublisherMango Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781902294292
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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