Intersectional postcolonial identities: Water and movement in Shire and Walcott
Cullinan, Dillon James. 2023. Intersectional postcolonial identities: Water and movement in Shire and Walcott. -- In Proceedings: 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University
Using Kimberlé Crenshaw's concept of intersectional identity as foundational research, this paper examines the postcolonial poetry of Warsan Shire and Derek Walcott and analyzes their use of the image of water. The paper examines the use of such poetic devices as metaphor, enjambment, personification, and diction to analyze water's use, frequency, and impact on the poetry and, by extension, identity formation and understanding. The image of water is used to depict movement and its prevention, be representative of colonial violence, and store transferable cultural memory. In this way, water becomes a powerful visual metaphor relating to the identity experience of being a postcolonial person and living in a postcolonial country. For the poets and holders of the postcolonial identity, water both creates a part of and informs at large this identity and its intersectionality as it is an avenue of both arrival, escape, and a kind of border. The postcolonial identity is defined as being intersectional through the postcolonial person's identity as both mover and colonized person, thus positioning itself as uniquely applicable to Walcott and Shire's created water symbology. Using Jan Stets and Peter Burke's research in Identity Theory and Social Identity Theory, the paper examines social and personal identities as they relate to literary studies of race and intersectionality. While the terms aren't unique to this paper, a new set of definitions and research applications are presented to assist in the explication of the intersectional postcolonial identity.
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Research completed in the Department of English, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.