Winner, MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies
Mapping literature from Spanish-speaking sub-Saharan African and Afro-Latinx Caribbean diasporas, Decolonizing Diasporas
argues that the works of diasporic writers and artists from Equatorial Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba offer new worldviews that unsettle and dismantle the logics of colonial modernity. With women of color feminisms and decolonial theory as frameworks, Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez juxtaposes Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic diasporic artists, analyzing work by Nelly Rosario, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Trifonia Melibea Obono, Donato Ndongo, Junot Díaz, Aracelis Girmay, Loida Maritza Pérez, Ernesto Quiñonez, Christina Olivares, Joaquín Mbomio Bacheng, Ibeyi, Daniel José Older, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Figueroa-Vásquez's study reveals the thematic, conceptual, and liberatory tools these artists offer when read in relation to one another.
Decolonizing Diasporas examines how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped in these works by tracing interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention. Figueroa-Vásquez contends that these diasporic literatures reveal violence but also forms of resistance and the radical potential of Afro-futurities.
This study centers the cultural productions of peoples of African descent as Afro-diasporic imaginaries that subvert coloniality and offer new ways to approach questions of home, location, belonging, and justice.