Abstract

Abstract:

The subjugation of Black lives and their violent disavowal in the archives, from incident reports to grand juries and press conferences, lay bare the lingering consequences of archival power (the archive as authority) and white supremacy. Citation from such documents is revealed as a form of terror. We must recognize our power in resisting this violence. We must also refuse rhetorical and archival violence and the state's power to control the official story. This essay considers the archives of slavery, their afterlives, and the future archives of Black death to track the technologies that colonial and state authorities deploy to obscure their culpability in Black deaths. It thinks about the "politics of citation" not necessarily as an erasure and occlusion of scholarship, but in the context of history as a discipline and the humanities at large, which use the archive as a continued site of authority and reproduce its violence.

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