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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism by Bianca C. Williams.

Publication Date: 
December 2018

From its first few paragraphs, this book compels the reader’s interest. Beginning with a recollection of one of her trips to Jamaica, where much of the fieldwork was done, Williams, without losing the essence or credibility of either, expertly interweaves her personal experiences with her research findings. The book, which is (surprisingly) enjoyable and easy to read, presents findings from a multi-site ethnographic study of a group of African/Black American women, “The Girlfriends”, who visit Jamaica at least once per year to “…temporarily replace their experiences of hardship and invisibility in the United States with fantasies of happiness.” The Girlfriends, according to Williams, visit Jamaica to “be themselves”. The book also offers explanations of, and a different view on, fairly complex concepts in cultural studies.

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