S.M. (Suzanne) Manizza-Roszak, Dr
My first book, Intersecting Diasporas (SUNY Press, 2021), put the work of Italian American writers into conversation with an array of other multi-ethnic US literature, considering how Italian America and other diasporic communities have represented one another in modern and contemporary US fiction, and how these more three-dimensional representations have countered othering and essentializing narratives by Anglo-American writers. Authors covered included Henry James, Edith Wharton, Patricia Highsmith, James Baldwin, Chang-rae Lee, Carolina de Robertis, John Fante, Mario Puzo, Don DeLillo, and Tina De Rosa.
With my second book, Uncanny Youth (U. of Wales Press, 2022), I turned to another core research interest: childhood studies. In my work, this includes both children’s and YA literature as well as literary representations of childhood in other books that are typically received as being “for adults.” Uncanny Youth in particular looked at the sociopolitical implications of Gothic childhood and adolescence as they have been imagined in hemispheric American fiction, poetry, and drama from the late 19th century through the present, including texts by Anglophone, Francophone, and Spanish Caribbean writers (e.g., Dulce María Loynaz, Aimé Césaire, V.S. Naipaul, Maryse Condé) as well as US, Indigenous Canadian, Mexican, and South American authors (e.g., Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Octavio Paz, Drew Hayden Taylor, Mariana Enriquez, Vera Brosgol).
My third monograph, They Also Write for Kids (U. Press of Mississippi, 2023), takes “kidlit” as its central focus. Incorporating both multi-ethnic US and global Anglophone texts, this book spotlights authors who are better known for their writing “for adults” and encourages skeptical readers to pay closer attention to their children’s literature: works ranging from Rabindranath Tagore’s The Crescent Moon and Chinua Achebe’s Chike and the River to Edwidge Danticat’s Mama’s Nightingale and Julia Alvarez’s Return to Sender. These texts engage complexly with an array of interconnected social justice issues, from institutionally encoded forms of prejudice against linguistically hybrid identities to the transnational problem of environmental violence.
Most recently, I received an NWO Open grant for my research on English-language literary representations of Dutch colonial history and its legacies. This project rereads popular historical fiction from the US and the UK with an eye toward the ways in which it fetishizes "Golden Age"-era Dutch womanhood while perpetuating stereotypes of Surinamese identities and spaces. It also examines postcolonial alternatives to these literary renderings, including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by both Surinamese authors writing in English and Guyanese authors writing about Suriname. I am especially interested in how writers like Pauline Melville and Sonja Boon undercut rigid distinctions between the human and the more-than-human in texts that combine critiques of (neo)colonial history with anti-extractive thought and interrogations of conspicuous consumption as a driver of ecological crisis.
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