In the Chapter “Reparations” from her book Decolonizing Diasporas, writer, scholar, and associate professor Dr. Yomaira Figueroa uses three novels of a contemporary Afro-Latinx literary corpus (among them Bodega Dreams, our focus) to theoretically engage with the concepts and practices of reparations and decolonial love.
Central Theoretical Arguments
.Ideological structures, orders, and legacies of colonialism subsist (coloniality). (117)
.Calls for reparations must contend with current social and political injustices and dismantle colonialism and coloniality itself. (117)
.Reparations are based on an ethics of valuing differences and the notion that justice-oriented work in the present is valuable in the future. (119)
.Reparations imply that other worlds beyond our imaginations are possible. (119)
.Decolonial love is what fuels the work of decolonization as a political and social project. (120)
.Decolonial love necessitates ethical actions in the face of visible and invisible domination. It requires forging relationships based on love and affinity. (121)
.Bearing witness to violence in the past and in the present is central to achieving a decolonial reparation. (121)
.Practices of decolonial love can be found across communities of color in creative, political, social, and cultural [and religious or spiritual] forms, and act as reparative forces beyond the scope of capitalist accumulation. (121)
.Material reparations must go in tandem with a commitment to transforming both the ideologies and structures of coloniality. (124)
Oral presentations on “Reparations” (Pages 117-135; 145-6) by Yomaira Figueroa
Bodega Dreams posits a reparation of the self and reconciliation of community. Quiñonez proposes a reparation of the imagination by decolonial love that goes beyond colonial and settler logics. (118)
Figueroa says that Bodega’s grand vision of real state power and middle-class aspirations helps Julio (Chino) start practicing decolonial love by finding beauty in his neighborhood, love for his community, and respect for their literal and cultural language. (125)
However, she argues that Bodega’s dreams fail because of his reliance on the capitalist model of accumulation and distribution. He believes that reparations for East Harlem will be achieved by mimicking corrupt Anglo political and economic patterns. (127)
Do you agree or disagree with Figueroa? What examples from the novel can you bring to support your views?
What was a major takeaway from our class?
What was difficult this semester and how did you overcome that obstacle?
Send some good vibes and words of encouragement to your classmates.