Mobility and Anxious Cosmopolitanism: Jamaica Kincaid's Among Flowers
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This essay focuses on a particular site of the transnational: mobility. Reading a contemporary travel narrative, Jamaica Kincaid's Among Flowers, it maps the articulation of a certain 'anxious cosmopolitanism'. Two intertwined discourses produce this anxious cosmopolitanism. Kincaid, I propose, presents a discourse of the uncertain traveller, nervous and hesitant in the Himalaya, even as she is alert to her privileged First World role. A second discourse, that of the cultural insider, with her expertise in plants and gardening situates her within a larger and longer tradition, which also includes, problematically, colonial plant collection. Finally, Kincaid, through acts of memory citizenship, refuses to be identified exclusively within the colonial tradition, foregrounds her horticultural insiderness and multiple allegiances that are local and global.