Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies (BA)
C. Richard King
As part of a historical formation of marginalized authors who interrogate dominant modes of writing and identity formation in their work, self-described “Black lesbian mother warrior poet” Audre Lorde remakes and reimagines dominant conventions of identity and literary genres in her novel Zami: A New Spelling of My Name to articulate her unique subjectivity as a Black American lesbian writer. Drawing on the work of scholars and activists in the fields of queer theory and feminism, including Cheryl Wall, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Audre Lorde herself, Charlie Martin uses textual and contextual analysis to examine the indelible link between Lorde’s intersecting identity as a Black feminist lesbian and the work that she does to subvert or “queer” dominant modes of storytelling and reductive conceptions of identity in Zami and her other work. Martin contends that through the deployment of both traditional narrative forms and poetic techniques in tandem with each other, Zami presents an alternative mode to the traditional novel that refuses to confine itself to one rigid way of being by insisting upon a hybrid approach to writing and an intersectional conception of identity. In doing so, Zami as an emergent text is able to convey moments of deep affect and erotic knowledge about self-identity and identity formation.
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Martin, Charlie, "Queering Dominant Modes of Writing and Identity Formation in Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" (2019). Cultural Studies Capstone Papers. 65.