Embodying American Slavery in Contemporary Culture
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Download PDF (129.0 KB)
Download PDF (287.4 KB)
I am grateful to a number of people and institutions for helping bring this project to its current state. Funding for research and development was generously provided by many sources. The University of Virginia awarded me several Summer Grants, a Small Grant, the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Award, ...
Introduction: Go There to Know There
Download PDF (351.3 KB)
During a recent Juneteenth commemorative weekend at our local community college, the program coordinator issued a provocative invitation. Describing the many events of the day—which included an art workshop for children, exhibit of slavery artifacts, and quilting demonstrations ...
1. Trauma and Time Travel
Download PDF (388.5 KB)
In her important essay on the role of psychology in the history of slavery, Nell Irvin Painter notes the difficulty of applying twentieth-century methodologies to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century circumstances. “When used carefully, perhaps gingerly,” she argues, psychology ...
2. Touching Scars, Touching Slavery: Trauma, Quilting, and Bodily Epistemology
Download PDF (560.5 KB)
The body is at once a question and an answer. Yet despite the inherent paradox of the body’s interpretational complexity, African American fictional and autobiographical narratives of slavery continue to engage corporeality as a representational strategy. ...
3. Teach You a Lesson, Boy: Endangered Black Male Teens Meet the Slave Past
Download PDF (428.7 KB)
In July 2005, American parents learned of two unusual programs designed to teach teenagers valuable, yet difficult, lessons in gratitude and resourcefulness. Heifer International—an antipoverty and anti-world hunger organization operating in fifty countries—offers an immersion experience at its Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. ...
4. Slave Tourism and Rememory
Download PDF (427.6 KB)
Since the mid-1990s, tourism theorists have identified a new trend in recreational travel. Instead of engaging the “innocent” amusements of a Disney theme park or observing the natural splendor of a mountain range or reenacting frontier life by taking a cattle-drive trip, many travelers are opting for what some scholars have identified as the “dark” side. ...
5. Ritual Reenactments
Download PDF (399.6 KB)
The slave-auction controversy discussed in the previous chapter represents only one facet of slavery reenactment, which is a prevalent and diverse activity that blends elements of performance with the reverence of commemoration. Despite the reticence or aversion to frank public conversation about America’s slave past, ...
6. Historical Reenactments
Download PDF (420.3 KB)
Ritual reenactments like The Maafa Suite differ significantly from those in the historical mode. These two forms, however, can be usefully placed in dialogue. Erriel Roberson, whose book on the Maafa expanded the term’s application, has this to say about Colonial Williamsburg’s historical reenactments of slavery: ...
Conclusion: A Soul Baby Talks Back
Download PDF (328.0 KB)
In her compelling 1989 essay “Negotiating between Tenses: Witnessing Slavery after Freedom—Dessa Rose,” Deborah McDowell concludes by broaching the ways in which Sherley Anne Williams’s novel Dessa Rose addresses and incorporates laughter as an emotional release for its female slave protagonist: “We laughed so we wouldn’t cry.” ...
Download PDF (301.0 KB)
Download PDF (333.2 KB)
Download PDF (326.6 KB)
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2008