Auto/biographical narratives of the Americas are marked by the underlying themes of movement and belonging. This collection proposes that the impact of the historic or contemporary movement of peoples to, in, and from the Americas—whether chosen or forced—motivates the ways in which identities are constructed in this contested space. Such movement results in a cyclical quest to belong, and to understand belonging, that reverberates through narratives of the Americas. The volume brings together essays written from diverse national, cultural, linguistic, and disciplinary perspectives to trace these transnational motifs in life writing across the Americas. Drawing on international scholars from the seemingly disparate regions of the Americas—North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America—this book extends critical theories of life writing beyond limiting national boundaries. The scholarship included approaches narrative inquiry from the fields of literature, linguistics, history, art history, sociology, anthropology, political science, pedagogy, gender studies, critical race studies, and indigenous studies. As a whole, this volume advances discourse in auto/biography studies, life writing, and identity studies by locating transnational themes in narratives of the Americas and placing them in international and interdisciplinary conversations.



Alfred Hornung


Introduction: Reading beyond Boundaries

Ricia Anne Chansky

Chapter One: Timescapes, Backpacks, Networks

Sidonie Smith

Chapter Two: Art, Identity, and Narration

Leonor Arfuch

Chapter Three: A Transnational Autobiographical Pact

Julie Rak

Chapter Four: Between Nations, Between Selves

Ricia Anne Chansky

Chapter Five: Talking beyond Borders

Gerardo Necoechea Gracia

Chapter Six: The Mediated Self in the Contested Domain of Caribbean Autobiography

Sandra Pouchet Paquet

Chapter Seven: Mapping Out a Treacherous Terrain

Laura J. Beard

Chapter Eight: Decolonial Translation in Embodied Auto/Biographical Indigenous Performance

Eva C. Karpinski

Chapter Nine: “See how I talk about the slavemaster”

Rose Mary Allen

Chapter Ten: Class and Class Awareness in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

William L. Andrews

Chapter Eleven: The Paradoxical Demand for Realism

Sergio da Silva Barcellos

Chapter Twelve: “Forward!” National Identity, Animalographies, and the Ethics of Representation in the Posthuman Imaginary

Cynthia Huff