Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination
- PUBLISHED: January 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: African American Studies, Visual Studies, Literary Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 248 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 13 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295746630
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
From Kara Walker’s hellscape antebellum silhouettes to Paul Beatty’s bizarre twist on slavery in The Sellout and from Colson Whitehead’s literal Underground Railroad to Jordan Peele’s body-snatching Get Out, this volume offers commentary on contemporary artistic works that present, like musical deep cuts, some challenging "alternate takes" on American slavery. These artists deliberately confront and negotiate the psychic and representational legacies of slavery to imagine possibilities and change. The essays in this volume explore the conceptions of freedom and blackness that undergird these narratives, critically examining how artists growing up in the post–Civil Rights era have nuanced slavery in a way that is distinctly different from the first wave of neo-slave narratives that emerged from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination positions post-blackness as a productive category of analysis that brings into sharp focus recent developments in black cultural productions across various media. These ten essays investigate how millennial black cultural productions trouble long-held notions of blackness by challenging limiting scripts. They interrogate political as well as formal interventions into established discourses to demonstrate how explorations of black identities frequently go hand in hand with the purposeful refiguring of slavery’s prevailing tropes, narratives, and images. A V Ethel Willis White Book
Authors & Contributors
Bertram D. Ashe is professor of English and American studies at the University of Richmond and author of Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles. Ilka Saal is professor of American literature at the University of Erfurt, Germany, author of New Deal Theater: The Vernacular Tradition in American Political Theater, and coeditor of Passionate Politics: The Cultural Work of American Melodrama from the Early Republic to the Present. The other contributors are Kimberly Nichele Brown, Mollie A. Godfrey, Jack Hitt, Chenjerai Kumanyika, Cameron Leader-Picone, Derek C. Maus, Derek Conrad Murray, Chris Neary, and Malin Pereira.
Acknowledgments Introduction Ilka Saal and Bertram D. Ashe 1. The Blackest Blackness: Slavery and the Satire of Kara Walker Derek Conrad Murray 2. Three-Fifths of a Black Life Matters Too: Four Neo-Slave novels from the Year Postracial Definitively Stopped Being a Thing Derek C. Maus 3. Whispering Racism in a Postracial World: Slavery and Post-Blackness in Paul Beatty's the Sellout Cameron Leader-Picone 4. Getting Graphic with Kindred: The Neo-Slave Narrative of the Black Lives Matter Movement Mollie Godfrey 5. "Stay Woke": Post-Black Filmmaking the Afterlife of Slavery in Jordan Peele's Get Out Kimerly Nichele Brown 6. The Song: Living with "Dixie" and the "Coon Space" of Post-Blackness Chenjerai Kumanyika, Jack Hitt, and Chris neary, with an introduction by Bertram D. Ashe 7. Performing Slavery at the Turn of the Millennium: Stereotypes, Affect, and Theatricality in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Neighbors and Young Jean Lee's The Shipment Ilka saal 8. Thylias Moss's Slave Moth: Liberatory Verse Narrative and Performance Art Malin Pereira 9. Plantation Memories: Cheryl Dunye's Representation of a Representation of American Slavery in the Watermelon Woman Bertram D. Ashe 10. "An Audience Is a Mob on Its Butt": An Interview with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Bertram D. Ashe and Ilka Saal List of Contributors Index
"[A]n academic and culturally relevant feast for the reader."-
"Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination manages to clarify and convincingly advance the discourse of post-Blackness in conversation with contemporary representations of slavery."-
"[A] formidable collection."-
"In this fascinating and timely volume, Ashe and Saal chart a new direction for African American studies with supple readings of artistic objects and a critical vocabulary that is interdisciplinary and innovative."- GerShun Avilez, author of Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism
"Ashe and Saal offer an important update to teaching and discussing contemporary representations of slavery."- Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Bacca Foundation Associate Professor, Duke University