When Brer Rabbit Meets Coyote: African-Native American Literature

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An exploration of the literature, history, and culture of people of mixed African American and Native American descent, When Brer Rabbit Meets Coyote is the first book to theorize an African-Native American literary tradition. In doing so, it prompts a reconsideration of interracial relations in American history and literature. Jonathan Brennan, in a sweeping historical and analytical introduction to this collection of essays, surveys several centuries of literature in the context of the historical and cultural exchange and development of distinct African-Native American traditions. Positing a new African-Native American literary theory, he illuminates the roles subjectivity, situational identities, and strategic discourse play in defining African-Native American literatures. Brennan provides a thorough background to the literary tradition and a valuable overview of topics discussed in the essays. He examines African-Native American political and historical texts, travel narratives, and the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, suggesting that this evolving oral tradition parallels the development of numerous Black Indian literary traditions in the United States and Latin America. The essays cover a range of literatures from African-Native American mythology among the Seminoles and mixed folktales among the Cherokee to autobiography, fiction, poetry, and captivity narratives. Contributors discuss, among other topics, the Brer Rabbit tales, shifting identities in African-Native American communities, the "creolization" of African American and Native American mythologies and religions, and Mardi Gras Indian performance. Also considered are Alice Walker's development of an African-Native American identity in her fiction and essays and African-Native American subjectivity in the works of Toni Morrison and Sherman Alexie.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252028199
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 5/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Recognition of the African-Native American Literary Tradition 1
Pt. 1 African-Native American Folklore
1 On the Interaction of Traditions: Southeastern Rabbit Tales as African-Native American Folklore 101
2 Brer Rabbit and His Cherokee Cousin: Moving Beyond the Appropriation Paradigm 114
Pt. 2 African-Native American Captivity and Slave Narratives
3 Briton Hammon, the Indian Captivity Narrative, and the African American Slave Narrative 141
4 Recapturing John Marrant 158
5 Speaking Cross Boundaries: A Nineteenth-Century African-Native American Autobiography 168
Pt. 3 Mardi Gras Indian Performance
6 In Search of the Mardi Gras Indians 197
7 Mardi Gras Indians: Carnival and Counternarrative in Black New Orleans 218
Pt. 4 Contemporary African-Native American Subjectivity
8 Wrapped in the Serpent's Tail: Alice Walker's African-Native American Subjectivity 241
9 "If You Know I Have a History, You Will Respect Me": A Perspective on African-Native American Literature 257
10 African-Native American Subjectivity and the Blues Voice in the Writings of Toni Morrison and Sherman Alexie 278
Contributors 293
Index 297
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