Transnational American Spaces

Tina Powell, Patricia Sagasti Suppes (Eds.)

by Mariana Pérez (Whitman College), Denise Jarrett (Morgan State University), Patricia Sagasti Suppes (Hartwick College), Lucía García-Santana (The University of the South), Christine Ristaino (Emory University), Hong Li (Emory University), Anushray Singh (Juice Droplet), Renée Latchman (Shortwood Teacher’s College, Jamaica), Barbara Miceli (University of Gdańsk, Poland), Adam Nemmers (Lamar University), Courtney Mullis (Duquesne University), Tina Powell (Concord University), Jennifer Irish-Mendez (United States Military Academy at West Point), Eva Tamara Asboth (University of Vienna, Austria)

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“Transnational American Spaces” is an impressively broad and thoughtful collection that contributes meaningfully to many distinct but interconnected conversations. The strongest point is the diversity of disciplines and subjects represented, from literature and cultural studies to ethnography, history, cultural geography, and more. Each essay is nuanced and sophisticated within its particular frames, but it is the book as a whole that offers such a wide range of applications of the key concepts, creating a conversation between disciplines that will also appeal to students and scholars in each as well as in interdisciplinary conversations and communities.

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Railton
English Studies, School of Arts and Sciences
Fitchburg State University

As people migrate, they face the need to create a stable space within a disconcertingly unfamiliar environment. This experience of creating new spaces opens opportunities for positive transcultural connections; however, these opportunities can also serve as the disciplining of the migrant body. This text focuses on the movement of bodies in transnational communities and the formation of domestic and communal spaces that provide respite from migratory paths, negotiate transnational relationships, or establish a new home. In doing so, we explore literary texts that question, challenge, and deepen our understanding of the experience of migration through the use of space and place.

The texts in question examine three levels of transnational spaces: intimate spaces such as family, personal growth, or sexuality; inherited spaces reflected in generational conflicts, religious identity, and inherited histories; and national spaces that look at issues of broader national identities. The texts we examine engage with transnational communities within the United States, and the ways in which narratives reimagine new space to negotiate change and create new norms. These narratives can sometimes bridge both cultures or can sometimes result in a violent sense of displacement. Each chapter problematizes a different aspect of transcultural adaptation, and the geographic ties of each community focus reflect the multicultural reality of the U.S., with connections to Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Brenci Patiño
Mary Baldwin University

List of Contributors

Tina Powell
Concord University
Patricia Sagasti Suppes
Hartwick College


Chapter 1 Ethnosexual Boundaries in Rigoberto González’s Memoirs
Mariana Pérez
Whitman College

Chapter 2 Haunting Past, Daunting Future: A Womanist Reading of Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy
Denise M. Jarrett
Morgan State University

Chapter 3 Intolerable Baggage: How New Arrivals are Haunted by Old Traumas in Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory
Patricia Sagasti Suppes
Hartwick College

Chapter 4 Transnational Junctures: Politics of Sex and Kinship in Reinaldo Arenas’s Before Night Falls and Cristina García’s The Agüero Sisters
Lucía García-Santana
The University of the South


Chapter 5 In-betweenness: South Asian Diasporic Existentialism, Nostalgia and Identities in Transnational Third Space
Anushray Singh
Juice Droplet

Chapter 6 Border Clash and Identity Conflicts in Julia Álvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
Renee Latchman
Shortwood Teacher’s College, Jamaica

Chapter 7 “A Complicated Landscape in Which Stories Could Be Generated”: Displacement and Identity in Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives
Barbara Miceli
University of Gdańsk, Poland

Chapter 8 Stirring the Melting Pot: The Frontier Farm Town as Transnational Nexus
Adam Nemmers
Lamar University


Chapter 9 The Danger of the Contact Zone: Cultural Trauma and Islamophobia in Amy Waldman’s The Submission
Courtney Mullis
Duquesne University

Chapter 10 Resettling the American West: Landscapes of the American Frontier in Vietnamese American Novels
Tina Powell
Concord University

Chapter 11 A Body and Mind of One’s Own: Affirming Intersectional Dominican Femininity in Loida Maritza Pérez’s Geographies of Home and Angie Cruz’s Soledad
Jennifer Irish-Mendez
United States Military Academy at West Point

Chapter 12 “Kossovo Day,” New York, 1918: How the Serbian National League of Defense Tied the Future of their Country of Origin to American History
Eva Tamara Asboth
University of Vienna, Austria


Chapter 13 Food as Transnational Space in the United States as Shown Through the Concept of Cultural Hybridity
Christine Ristaino
Emory University
Hong Li
Emory University


Dr. Tina Powell, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of English at Concord University. Her scholarly interests focus on the intersection of U.S. immigration policies, U.S. international policy, and postwar American literature. She is currently working on a monograph that uses cartography to discuss transnational and third space migratory pathways and has published several articles in the field of Critical Refugee Studies.

Dr. Patricia Sagasti Suppes, Ph.D. spent the first years of her career as a faculty member in Spanish, and is currently Director of Global Education at Hartwick College. Her research focuses on feminist works by contemporary Latin American and Spanish writers and on the representation of feminine violence in modern literature. Most recently, she published in 'Agencia, historia y empoderamiento femenino', a special publication by the Association of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

American Literature, Border Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Migration Studies, American Studies