Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora

Territories of the SoulThis week, the Off the Shelf and on Display blog features Nadia Ellis’s Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora.  An Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, Ellis specializes in African diasporic, Caribbean, and postcolonial literatures and cultures. Her research traces the trajectories of literary and expressive cultures from the Caribbean to Britain to the United States.

Ellis underscores her research interests in the text’s introduction when she states that:

In this book I explore diasporic aesthetics and subjectivity where a persistent sense of the insufficiency of existing modes of belonging is matched by an awareness that new forms remain inspiringly elusive. Studying figures across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first who represent an urgent desire for an outside–an outside of the nation, an outside of empire, an outside of traditional forms of genealogy and family relations, an outside of chronological and spatial limitations–the texts I analyze evince striking features of longing, non-fulfillment, and suspension (3.4).

Nadia EllisThis is a fascinating study that will be of interest to students and faculty from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, as Ellis includes readings of authors such as C.L.R. James, James Baldwin, and Andrew Salkey.

As the title of this months display is Diverse People Unite, Ellis reminds us that such unification often calls for, and may indeed require, us to consider, “eccentric, troubling, or failed attempts to construct diasporic community that, by virtue of being attempts, amplify the call for something even better” (10).

Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela (26 September 1936-2 April 2018)

Keeping with the subject matter of this month’s book display, Diverse People Unite, we would like to notify readers that Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela died today.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela during her exile in Brandfort in 1977.
Image: Gallo Images/ Avusa Archives/ Peter Magubane

A special thanks to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library for sharing this story.

To learn more about this story, please visit the Times Live.



Diverse People Unite: the UCI Libraries’ Diversity Team Remembers Pauline Ditala Manaka

Diverse People Unite Book Display


The UCI Libraries’ Diversity Team’s book display, entitled Diverse People Unite, is inspired and supported by an anonymous gift made in memory of our beloved library colleague – Pauline Ditala Manaka

Pauline Manaka PicturePauline, who passed away in June 2017, was an inaugural member of the UCI Libraries’ Diversity Team and an active Research Librarian and activist. We proundly miss her spirit and dedication to UCI, especially to assisting faculty and students. Representing Pauline’s passion for diversity, the Diversity Team selected books from the Libraries’ collections on a variety of global diversity and social justice topics.

The intent behind this display is to show how diverse perspectives and thought can unite to form a more comprehensive understanding of our individual worlds and pursuits.

The motto, !ke e: /xarra //ke, displayed on South Africa’s current, post-Apartheid Coat of Arms, inspired the display’s title, “Diverse People Unite.” We chose this title in honor of Pauline, who was born and grew up in South Africa during the struggle against Apartheid.

To learn more about Pauline and her singificant contributions to UCI and academic librarianship, please visit https://news.lib.uci.edu/remembering-pauline-ditala-manaka

Established in 2016, the UCI Libraries’ Diversity Team promotes diversity in the Libraries and contributes to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the campus community. We would love to hear from you. Connect,  follow, and engage with the UCI Libraries on Twitter @ucilib.