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International Journal of New Technology and Research

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Didactics and Intersections in the Teaching of Genre and Interracial Desire in Octavia Butler’s Kindred

( Volume 3 Issue 3,March 2017 ) OPEN ACCESS

Adolf Tanyi Mbeh


Slavery’s legacy haunts present-day America, and its enduring trauma is reflected in the writing of “neo-slave narratives,” or contemporary novels about slavery. Although neo-slave narratives have received scholarly attention for their use of slave history as a tool for engaging with current sociopolitical concerns, critics have not yet examined the importance of romantic love in this project as a healing strategy for the pathology of enslavement. This project contends that neo-slave narratives attempt to repair the trauma of slavery through romantic love, seeking to undo slavery’s destruction of black families, marriages, and other unions through a didactic innovation. While undertaking this intervention, neo-slave narratives risk inscribing traditional gender roles, affirming heterosexuality, and promoting a homogenous vision for black families, communities, and relationships. My central conclusion is that there remains a need for continued scrutiny of the neo-slave narrative’s investment in conventional romantic paradigms and how these paradigms are educative. I examine Octavia Butler’s Kindred and its interracial queer taboos. The historical basis for my research is split into an analysis of rhetoric surrounding the black family in two

Periods, the nineteenth century and the post-civil rights era. Methodologically, this paper utilizes trauma theory, cultural rhetoric on love, and critical race studies with attention to gender, sexuality and interracial issues

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