Thinking with the Familiar in Contemporary Literature and Culture 'Out of the Ordinary'


What grows out of the ordinary? This volume focuses on that which has been regarded as ordinary, self-evident and formulaic in literary and cultural phenomena such as diasporic cuisine, pet adoption narratives, Prairie writing, romance between stepsiblings, the program of a political party, and everyday shopping in poetry. The book argues that by engaging with that which is perceived as ordinary we also gain understanding of how otherness becomes defined and constituted. The volume seeks new ways to access that which might lie in-between or beyond the opposition between exploitation and emancipation, and contests the hegemonic logic of revealing oppression and rebuilding liberation in contemporary critical theory to create new ways of knowing which grow out of the ordinary.

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Joel Kuortti, PhD (1998), University of Tampere, Finland, is Professor of English literature at the University of Turku. He has published widely on Indian and South Asian literature, including several books and edited volumes on Salman Rushdie and Indian women writers.

Kaisa Ilmonen, PhD (2012), University of Turku, Finland, is Senior Research Fellow at that university. She has published widely on postcolonial and queer studies, and is the author of Queer Rebellion in the Novels of Michelle Cliff: Intersectionality and Sexual Modernity (2017).

Janne Korkka, PhD (2011), University of Turku, Finland, is Senior Lecturer in English at that university. He has published widely on Canadian literature in English, including Ethical Encounters: Spaces and Selves in the Writings of Rudy Wiebe (Rodopi, 2013).

Elina Valovirta, PhD (2010), University of Turku, Finland, is Senior Lecturer in English at that university. She has published widely on Caribbean literature and women's writing, including Sexual Feelings: Reading Anglophone Caribbean Women’s Writing through Affect (Rodopi, 2014).
Forward: Exotic/Ordinary
Tabish Khair
About the Authors

The Potential of the Ordinary: Out of the Ordinary
Joel Kuortti, Kaisa Ilmonen, Elina Valovirta and Janne Korkka

Part 1
Extra/Ordinary Acts
1 Caryl Phillips and Ordinariness
John McLeod
2 Disposability and Ordinariness in the New Europe of Damjan Kozole’s Spare Parts
Ana Cristina Mendes
3 Intersectionalizing the Ordinary: Looking for the Narratives Lost in the Homogenous Commonplace
Kaisa Ilmonen and Leena-Maija Rossi

Part 2
Small Things
4 “The gopher was the model”: the Secrets of Ordinary Animals in Canadian Prairie Writing
Janne Korkka
5 “Lapse of Happily”: Consuming Everyday Banality in American Experimental Poetry
Elina Siltanen
6 Engaging with Otherness in Everyday Life: Naomi Shihab Nye’s De-familiarizing Poems
Lisa Marchi

Part 3
Home and Family
7 The Ordinariness of the Diasporic Kitchen
Joel Kuortti
8 No Ordinary Love: the Romantic Formula of Stepsibling Erotica
Elina Valovirta
9 Ordinary Families? Animals and Home in US Rehoming Narratives
Jopi Nyman

The Ordinary Never Runs Out of Steam: Afterword
Elina Valovirta, Kaisa Ilmonen, Joel Kuortti and Janne Korkka

Scholars and postgraduates working in literary and cultural disciplines: the intersecting fields of postcolonial studies, diaspora/transnational studies, gender studies, feminist and queer studies, North American studies, animal studies, and ethnic studies.
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