Haunting temporalities: Creolisation and black women's subjectivities in the diasporic science fiction of Nalo Hopkinson
This study examines temporal entanglement in three novels by Jamaican-born author Nalo Hopkinson. The novels are: Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), Midnight Robber (2000), and The Salt Roads (2004). The study pays particular attention to Hopkinson's use of narrative temporalities, which are shape by creolisation. I argue that Hopkinson creatively theorises black women's subjectivities in relation to (post) colonial politics of domination. Specifically, creolised temporalities are presented as a response to predatory Western modernity. Her innovative diasporic science fiction displays common preoccupations associated with Caribbean women writers, such as belonging and exile, and the continued violence enacted by the legacy of colonialism and slavery. A central emphasis of the study is an analysis of how Hopkinson not only employs a past gaze, as the majority of both Caribbean and postcolonial writing does to recover the subaltern subject, but also how she uses the future to reclaim and reconstruct a sense of selfhood and agency, specifically with regards to black women. Linked to the future is her engagement with notions of technological and social betterment and progress as exemplified by her emphasis on the use of technology as a tool of empire. By writing science fiction, Hopkinson is able to delve into the nebulous nexus of technology, empire, slavery, capitalism and modernity. And, by employing a temporality shaped by creolisation, she is able to collapse discrete historical time-frames, tracing obscured connections between the nodes of this nexus from its beginnings on the plantation, the birthplace of creolisation and, as some have argued, of modernity itself.