Trances, Dances and Vociferations provides a compelling feminist analysis of gender politics in the works of four major Africana women writers: Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Assia Djebar, and Paule Marshall. Nada Elia explores the way in which black women characters use conjuring, double entendre, and song to empower, liberate and determine their own female insurgency. She also explains how African and Afrodiasporic women have been forced to rewrite history and substitute a communal and individual wholeness for alienation and separation in many different settings, from Algeria to Oklahoma. Ranging over works including Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow, Djebar's A Sister to Scheherazade, Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven and Morrison's Jazz and Beloved, Elia offers essential and provocative insights into the works of some of our most influential Africana women authors today.

chapter |10 pages


In the Beginning All Was Sound

chapter |32 pages

“The Fourth Language”

Subaltern Expression in Assia Djebar's Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade and A Sister to Scheherazade

chapter |37 pages

“The Memories of Old Women”

Alternative History in Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven and Free Enterprise

chapter |31 pages

“I'm Breaking My Vow of Silence”

Reclaiming Speech in Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow and Daughters

chapter |35 pages

“Under the Weight of Memory and Music”

Contact Zones and Healing in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Paradise

chapter |8 pages

Conclusion: “With Nomad Memory and Intermittent Voice”

The Africana Women's Aesthetic Tradition