Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long Distance Nationalism Summary

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Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long-Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home. By Nina Glick Schiller and Georges Eugene Fouron. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001. x + 324 p., photographs, notes, bibliography, index, ISBN 0-8223-2791-0 pbk.) “Georges woke up laughing”, begins this book. It continues with Fouron’s (one of the authors) recollection of his “wonderful” dream about Haiti, which first brings joyous emotions but is eventually replaced with sadness, as he realizes that he “had been dreaming of a Haiti that never was” (1). This introductory anecdote tersely but poignantly evinces the nostalgia that is at the core of this subject matter; it conveys the homesickness that many immigrants feel, which often transforms their memories of their native lands into idealizations. However, this story is not simply about the nocturnal workings of Georges’s subconscious but, as is…show more content…
In Chapter 5, the belief that the “blood remains Haitian”, regardless of citizenship, comes up often. While this notion allows those in Haiti to expand the “nation” and links them to lands of greater opportunity, it is especially significant to Haitian immigrants in the U.S., who often experience racism on a daily basis, as it gives them a location in which they can be proud of their race and to which they will always belong. Chapter 6 discusses multiple meanings of nationalism through the gender lens: “[b]y exploring why Nanie [Fouron’s mother] expressed her anger at a difficult marriage and oppressive system of gender by rejecting her nationality, we [come] to understand the different ways in which Haitian women and men, Haitians of different classes, and Haitians in Haiti and the diaspora, come to identify with and understand the nation” (132). Chapter 7 looks at the nationalism of the second generation, both those who have grown up in the U.S. and those who have come of age in
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