Ten Years after Katrina

Ten Years after Katrina : Critical Perspectives of the Storm's Effect on American Culture and Identity

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Hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast in 2005, leaving an unparalleled trail of physical destruction. In addition to that damage, the storm wrought massive psychological and cultural trauma on Gulf Coast residents and on America as a whole. Details of the devastation were quickly reported-and misreported-by media outlets, and a slew of articles and books followed, offering a spectrum of socio-political commentaries and analyses. But beyond the reportage and the commentary, a series of fictional and creative accounts of the Katrina-experience have emerged in various mediums: novels, plays, films, television shows, songs, graphic novels, collections of photographs, and works of creative non-fiction that blur the lines between reportage, memoir, and poetry. The creative outpouring brings to mind Salman Rushdie's observation that, "Man is the storytelling animal, the only creature on earth that tells itself stories to understand what kind of creature it is." This book accepts the urge behind Rushdie's formula: humans tell stories in order to understand ourselves, our world, and our place in it.
Indeed, the creative output on Katrina represents efforts to construct a cohesive narrative out of the wreckage of a cataclysmic event. However, this book goes further than merely cataloguing the ways that Katrina narratives support Rushdie's rich claim. This collection represents a concentrated attempt to chart the effects of Katrina on our cultural identity; it seeks to not merely catalogue the trauma of the event but to explore the ways that such an event functions in and on the literature that represents it. The body of work that sprung out of Katrina offers a unique critical opportunity to better understand the genres that structure our stories and the ways stories reflect and produce culture and identity. These essays raise new questions about the representative genres themselves. The stories are efforts to represent and understand the human condition, but so are the organizing principles that communicate the stories. That is, Katrina-narratives present an opportunity to interrogate the ways that specific narrative structures inform our understanding and develop our cultural identity.
This book offers a critical processing of the newly emerging and diverse canon of Katrina texts.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 260 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 6 Halftones, black and white; 3 Illustrations, black and white
  • 073919268X
  • 9780739192689

Table of contents

Contents Introduction. Ten Years Later Part I: Testimony Chapter 1. Disaster's Ethics of Literature: Voicing Katrina's Stories in a Digital Age Joseph Donica Chapter 2. Dramatic 'Belated Immediacy' in John Biguenet's Rising Water Trilogy Daisy Pignetti Chapter 3. "The Storm": Spatial Discourses and Katrina Narratives in David Simon's Treme Michael Samuel Chapter 4. Shattered Reflections: One D.O.A., One on the Way, Short-Short Stories and Enacting Trauma Laura Tansley Chapter 5. Bearing Witness to the Dispossessed: Natasha Tretheway's Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Eloisa Valenzuela-Mendoza Chapter 6. Subversive Interpellation: Voices of Protest Out of "the storm called... America" Glenn Jellenik Part II: Cultural Identity Chapter 7. Katrina Stories Get Graphic in A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge Kate Parker Horigan Chapter 8. Displacement and Dispossession: The Plantation Regime as a Disaster Discourse in Rosalyn Story's Wading Home (2010) Florian Freitag Chapter 9. Dave Eggers' Zeitoun and Katrina's Southern Biopolitics Christopher Lloyd Chapter 10. Katrina Time: An Aggregation of Political Rhetoric in Zeitoun A.G. Keeble Chapter 11. The Camera as Corrective: Post-Photography, Disaster Networks, and the Afterimage of Hurricane Katrina Thomas Stubblefield Chapter 12. Pregnancies, Storms, and Legacies of Loss: Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones Mary Ruth Marotte Chapter 13. Re-shaping the Narrative: Pulling Focus/Pushing Boundaries in Fictional Representations of Hurricane Katrina Glenn Jellenik
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Review quote

This book shows us why we need cultural criticism: the x-codes of Hurricane Katrina take on life as polysemous performance. Through careful attention, disasters' long reverberations yield their sad and all too familiar truths. -- Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College
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About Mary Ruth Marotte

Mary Ruth Marotte is associate professor of English and director of graduate studies in English at the University of Central Arkansas. Glenn Jellenik is a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Central Arkansas.
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