Poet, novelist, and essayist Dionne Brand’s unconventional memoir, A Map to the Door of No Return (2001) provides a method for identifying how the embodied experiences of Black queer subjects form an archive for understanding operations of power within Black queer diasporas. Using the analytic of sensual worldmaking, a term I use to describe Black feminist narrative writing that locates embodied erotic and sensual experience as an authorizing source of knowledge about identity-based power dynamics, I illustrate how A Map to the Door of No Return offers a Black queer archive of experiences and narratives in the Black diaspora. Brand manipulates the form of memoir to produce a creative text woven from multiple archives: the author-speaker’s Black lesbian embodied experiences, colonial journals and travelogues, and the archive of metaphors used by Black subjects to narrate and understand the African diaspora. In so doing, Brand constructs what Marlene Goldman (2004) calls a “community of witnesses” to diasporic Black queerness.
Smith, Alexandria N.. 2021. "Being in the Black Queer Diaspora: Embodied Archives in A Map to the Door of No Return." Journal of Feminist Scholarship 19 (Fall): 92-106. 10.23860/jfs.2021.19.07.
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