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The Global and the IntimateFeminism in Our Time$
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Victoria Rosner and Geraldine Pratt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231154499

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231154499.001.0001

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Jamaica Kincaid’s Practical Politics of the Intimate in My Garden (Book):

Jamaica Kincaid’s Practical Politics of the Intimate in My Garden (Book):

(p.85) 3 Jamaica Kincaid’s Practical Politics of the Intimate in My Garden (Book):
The Global and the Intimate

Agnese Fidecaro

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the clutter of seed catalogues and lists of garden nurseries in Jamaica Kincaid's My Garden (book) (1999), a collection of essays that chronicle Kincaid's gardening practice. It examines Kincaid's always incomplete, open-ended exercises in horticultural creativity and garden writing that turn out to be so many instances of a practical politics of the intimate. It considers how Kincaid subversively develops this politics from within the materialism and superficiality of opulent domesticity. “Thinking globally” can provide a necessary counterweight to traditional analyses of intimacy by calling attention to the unintended consequences of failing to place the local setting in a broader context or refusing to look at the threads that connect intimate practices to a larger world. It means upending simple associations between gardening, domesticity, self-containment, and stability. The chapter also looks at Kincaid's performance of domestic consumerism and discursive self-referentiality in relation to her politics.

Keywords:   gardening, Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden, politics of the intimate, materialism, domesticity, intimacy, self-containment, consumerism, self-referentiality

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