Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Elda Tsou

Second Advisor

Raj Chetty,

Third Advisor

Stephen Sicari


This interdisciplinary dissertation explores postcolonial Afro-Caribbean literature’s formal engagement with the histories, narratives, forms, and knowledge claims of colonialism and its legacies. It weaves together Black studies, modernism, Afro-Caribbean literature and culture, and postcolonial theory through close readings of three canonical and marginalized texts by women writers from different literary, intellectual, cultural, theoretical, and critical traditions: Virginia Woolf ‘s Mrs. Dalloway, Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark, and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. It argues that a Black diasporic reading position, in being oriented toward what cannot or refuses to be known, renders visible that which is and remains unaccounted for in social political, and ideological practices of and quarrels with subjectivity and difference. It analyzes “scenes of difference” in the literary texts to trace and demonstrate how Black diasporic literary forms uniquely engage with forms of difference. The study develops and posits Afro-Caribbeanness as a reading methodology that, in being oriented towards the space between, disrupts scenes, forms, and acts of difference which continue the legacies of colonialism through concealment and obscurity.