Survival, Struggle and Identity in Dalit and Afro-American Literature

  • Arnab ChatterjeeEmail author


Amiri Baraka’s Obie winning play, Dutchman (1964), depicts entrenched race relations in the USA during the civil rights era of which the playwright had a firsthand knowledge. But, it does something more than that. Employing semi-absurdist techniques and a closed setting that often reminds one of the dramaturgy of Harold Pinter, the play shows troubled race relations at work that operates on many levels. This, nevertheless, brings in the issues of survival, identity, and struggle in Afro-American literature that has parallels with the dalit movement in India, particularly in Maharashtra, in the poetry of writers like Namdeo Dhasal, Baburao Bhagul and others. While the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s called for a recourse to violent techniques to change the status quo, similar ideology was also adopted by the Dalit Panthers to reinforce the oppressed dalit psyche and identity. This chapter would like to demonstrate these similaritiesfrom a Deleuzian–Guattarian perspective.


Dalit Panther Black Panther Civil rights Identity Afro-American Dalits Deleuze and Guattari 


  1. Babu, A. (2014). Rejuvenating subaltern: A study of the poems of Amiri Baraka and Namdeo Dhasal. Verbal Art: A Global Journal Devoted to Poets and Poetry, 1 (1), 58–71.Google Scholar
  2. Calogero, R. M. (2012). Objectification theory, self-objectification and body image. In K. Wright & K. Novotny (Ed.), Bodies: A digital companion. Accessed 12 April 2018.
  3. Colebrook, Claire. (2012). Gilles Deleuze. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Davis, Lennard J. (1995). Enforcing normalcy: Disability, deafness and the body. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Deleuze, G. 1992. Postscript on the societies of control. Accessed 10 May 2019.
  6. Deleuze, Gilles. 2015. The logic of sense. New Delhi and New York: Bloomsbury Atlantic.Google Scholar
  7. Deleuze, Gilles, & Guattari, Felix. (1972). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  8. Deleuze, Gilles, & Guattari, Felix. (1987). A thousand plateaus. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.Google Scholar
  9. Galic, M., Timan, T., & Koops, B. J. (2017). Bentham, Deleuze and beyond: An overview of surveillance theories from the panopticon to participation. Philosophy and Technology 30 (1), 9–37. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  10. Harris, William J. (Ed.). (1991). The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka reader. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press-Avalon Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Jones, L. (1964/2001). Dutchman and the slave: Two plays. New York: Harper-Perennial.Google Scholar
  12. Kalpana, J. K., & K. Saranya. 2016. A study of similarities between dalit literature and African-American Literature. Pune Research: An International Journal of English, 2 (5), 1–7. Accessed 10 May 2019.
  13. Ketkar, Sachin. 2016. A language of heterogeneity: The poetry of Namdeo Dhasal. Accessed 12 May 2019.
  14. Levi, A. 2014. Dutchman. Accessed 14 April 2018.
  15. Lurie, Peter. (2004). Vision’s immanence: Faulkner, film, and the popular imagination. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Margarit, E. 2012. Deleuze transcendental empiricism as exercise of thought: Hume’s case. Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy, 4 (2), 377–403. Accessed 10 December 2017.
  17. Monahan, Torin, & Wall, Tyler. (2007). Somatic surveillance: Corporeal control through information networks. Surveillance and Society, (3), 154–173.Google Scholar
  18. Mulvey, L. 1975. Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Screen, 16 (3), 6–18.Google Scholar
  19. Olivier, B. (2016). Deleuze’s ‘crystals of time’, human subjectivity and social history. Phronimon, 17(1), 25–56. Accessed 15 July 2019.
  20. Parr, A. (2015). What is becoming of Deleuze? Accessed 10 May 2018.
  21. Poem Hunter. 2019. Namdeo Dhasal poems. Accessed 21 September 2019.
  22. Sen, Amartya. (2009). The idea of justice. New Delhi: Penguin Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zuboff, Shoshana. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSister Nivedita UniversityKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations