Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Introduction. Neoliberal Disavowal and the Politics of the Impossible

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pp. 1-34

In a relatively unheralded essay from Sister Outsider called “Learning from the 60s,” Audre Lorde presents her relationship to the dead in which seemingly mutually exclusive orientations to life and death converge.1 Lorde begins this essay, a transcript of a speech at the “Malcolm X Weekend” organized by the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association...

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1. Fun with Death and Dismemberment: Irony, Farce, and Nationalist Memorialization

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pp. 35-62

Ana Castillo’s novel So Far from God begins: “La Loca was only three years old when she died.”1 While the death of a child is not usually the stuff of comedy, the first chapter recounts, with the novel’s characteristic dry wit, the miraculous resurrection of La Loca at her own funeral and the ensuing panicked argument among the parishioners about whether...

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2. On Being Wrong and Feeling Right: Cherríe Moraga and Audre Lorde

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pp. 63-94

I began this book with Audre Lorde, in particular her memory and memorialization of the social movements era through the re-narration of Malcolm X’s legacy. In the previous chapter, I continued this line of thought, exploring the contradictions of official nationalist memorialization, especially the ways in which nationalism’s insistence that...

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3. Blues Futurity and Queer Improvisation

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pp. 95-124

In the above passage from an essay that uses the trope of the blues to challenge white liberalism’s “bubble bath of self-congratulation,” James Baldwin reminds us that death and life are always mutually dependent.1 This seeming digression about life and death is anything but, and this chapter finds inspiration in Baldwin to engage with the structure...

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4. Bringing Out the Dead: Black Feminism’s Prophetic Vision

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pp. 125-146

Barbara Christian’s 1994 essay, entitled “Diminishing Returns: Can Black Feminism(s) Survive the Academy?,” haunts me, almost twenty years after its publication. In this essay, Christian addresses the question of the future of Black feminism by examining the many barriers—material, institutional, intellectual—that deny new generations of African...

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Epilogue. Life, Death, and Everything in Between

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pp. 147-150

I was trying to make sense of what seemed to me the ubiquity of death, from the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the passing of my then-colleague Nellie McKay from cancer, among too many others, and somehow that led to the beginnings of this book. As I finish this book, in August 2014, Israel launches an air and ground attack on Gaza that kills...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 151-154

This book exists because I felt called by the dead, and I felt that I had to acknowledge those who died, as a way of reckoning with, to quote Audre Lorde, “the deaths we are expected to live.”1 I think about those whom I have been asked to disinherit in order to exist as I do, and this book is my way of acknowledging them. So first and foremost, those are whom...

Notes

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pp. 155-190

Index

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pp. 191-199

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About the Author

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Grace Kyungwon Hong is associate professor of Asian American studies and gender studies at UCLA. She is author of The Ruptures of American Capital (Minnesota, 2006) and coeditor (with Roderick A. Ferguson) of Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization.