Class Interruptions

Inequality and Division in African Diasporic Women's Fiction

By Robin Brooks

238 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 8 halftones

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6647-1
    Published: February 2022
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6646-4
    Published: February 2022
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6648-8
    Published: December 2021
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6195-5
    Published: December 2021

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Awards & distinctions

Honorable Mention, 2022 Barbara T. Christian Literary Award, Caribbean Studies Association

As downward mobility continues to be an international issue, Robin Brooks offers a timely intervention between the humanities and social sciences by examining how Black women’s cultural production engages debates about the growth in income and wealth gaps in global society during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this innovative book employs major contemporary texts by both African American and Caribbean writers—Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Dawn Turner, Olive Senior, Oonya Kempadoo, Merle Hodge, and Diana McCaulay—to demonstrate how neoliberalism, within the broader framework of racial capitalism, reframes structural inequalities as personal failures, thus obscuring how to improve unjust conditions.

Through interviews with authors, textual analyses of the fiction, and a diagramming of cross-class relationships, Brooks offers compelling new insight on literary portrayals of class inequalities and division. She expands the scope of how the Black women’s literary tradition, since the 1970s, has been conceptualized by repositioning the importance of class and explores why the imagination matters as we think about novel ways to address long-standing and simultaneously evolving issues.

About the Author

Robin Brooks is associate professor of Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
For more information about Robin Brooks, visit the Author Page.


“In this innovative work, Dr. Robin Brooks examines narratives of class divisions and economic inequality in the literature of Black women including Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, and more.”—Ms. Magazine

“This book has vision, ambition, and insight. . . . The work of forging such alliances, as Brooks writes, is not easy, but Class Interruptions makes a powerful case for the mind shifts that can lead to them, by making an intersectional and interdisciplinary demonstration of why they are necessary.”—Journal of Working-Class Studies

“A well-organized and well-argued text. . . . Readers from a range of disciplines . . . will be made aware of both the problems associated with strongly held biases regarding class, and the way literature provides a mechanism to help us make the societal differences we claim to be invested in.”—New West Indian Guide

"Class Interruptions deftly analyzes African American and Caribbean texts while foregrounding class as a necessary category of study in both fields. Timely in its recognition of the class positions of 'essential workers' during the COVID pandemic, this work shows that writers have engaged class consistently, even as class remained a lacuna in literary critical studies. Robin Brooks confidently contributes this much-needed component to advance a new generation of literary scholarship in which class has as much analytical presence as does race or gender."--Carole Boyce Davies, Cornell University

“A well-conceptualized and theoretically rich book, Class Interruptions offers readers new and generative ways to reengage with class, Blackness, literature, and public policy. A magnificent piece of scholarship and a must read.”—Robert J. Patterson, author Destructive Desires: Rhythm and Blues Culture and the Politics of Racial Equality