Migrating Fictions analyzes the role of race, gender, and citizenship in the major internal displacements of the 20th century in history and in narrative. Surveying the particular tactics employed by the United States during the Great Migration, the Dust Bowl, the Japanese American incarceration, and the migrant labor of the Southwest, Abigail G. H. Manzella reveals how the country's past is imbued with governmentally (en)forced movements that diminished access to full citizenship rights for the laboring class, people of color, and women.
This work is the first book-length study to examine all of these movements together along with their literature, including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sanora Babb's Whose Names Are Unknown, Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine, Helena María Viramontes's Under the Feet of Jesus, and Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones. Manzella shows how the United States' history of spatial colonization within its own borders extends beyond isolated incidents into a pattern based on ideology about nation-building, citizenship, and labor. This book seeks to theorize a Thirdspace, an alternate location for social justice that acknowledges the precarity of the internally displaced person.
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