Women in Toni Morrison’s Novel A Mercy: An Analysis of Subaltern Voices in the American Melting Pot

Authors

  • Dr. Rafida Nawaz (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6715-5440) Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. 
  • Mr. Syed Hussain Murtaza PhD Scholar at the Department of Political Science, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan.
  • Ms. Syeda Raman Hassan M.Phil. in English Linguistics and Independent Researcher.

Keywords:

Cultural Translation, Doxa, Border Gnosis, Subaltern Studies, Walter Mignolo, Toni Morrison, Americas

Abstract

Discovery of the Americas by Iberian powers began the colonization of farm lands, which brought the Westward progress of civilizations. European hegemonial discourse depicted the ‘West (master) and the Others (subjugated)’. The subaltern studies suggest the reinventing of commoners’ history, away from terms of occidental explanations and its biases.

Counter to the argument of World System theorists, who believe in the domination of Eurocentrism and its knowledge episteme, (Enlightenment), subjugated knowledge(s) dwelled on exteriors as de-colonial logic. The article intended to elaborate that multiple knowledge systems i.e., common sensual (doxas) and systematic knowledge [episteme(s)], came in contact within an environment named Gnosis by Latin American subaltern historian Walter Mignolo, leading to the geopolitics of knowledge. Seventeenth century America(s) was a transcultural, tri-continental space, where different world views and local histories collided. Though, the difference of defining the European dominance and power was a reality; in America(s) multiple schools of thought i.e., episteme(s) collided; co-habituated, co-existed and translated one another retaining their respective percepts, beliefs and, knowledge systems; though each transformed after the cultural contact.

The paper employing Mignolo concepts of episteme, doxa, and gnosis and Foucault concept of subjugated knowledge(s) aims to revisit the interplay of power/knowledge in Toni Morris textual landscape “Mercy”, where a Male Master exploits four Women (European, Indigenous American, African, Mulatto) when he embraces the responsibility of these Women in name of Mercy. The masters’ home becomes a tri-continental space, a space for Border Gnosis, where women recognizing their differences develop a bond of co-dependency, though translating one another’s acts according to their respective percepts.

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Author Biography

Dr. Rafida Nawaz (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6715-5440), Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. 

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Published

2021-12-31

How to Cite

Dr. Rafida Nawaz (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6715-5440), Mr. Syed Hussain Murtaza, and Ms. Syeda Raman Hassan. “Women in Toni Morrison’s Novel A Mercy: An Analysis of Subaltern Voices in the American Melting Pot”. Journal of European Studies (JES) 38, no. 1 (December 31, 2021): 48–66. Accessed June 30, 2022. https://asce-uok.edu.pk/journal/index.php/JES/article/view/227.