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 It is about the legacy of slavery rather than slavery itself. Its topic is literature, fictive

 narratives of slavery by contemporary writers from throughout

the post-civil rights and post-colonial English speaking African Diaspora

 

 

Black Subjects Identity Formation

 in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery

By Arlene R. Keizer

 

Reviews

Writers as diverse as Carolivia Herron, Charles Johnson, Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Derek Walcott have addressed the history of slavery in their literary works. In this groundbreaking new book, Arlene R. Keizer contends that these writers theorize the nature and formation of the black subject and engage established theories of subjectivity in their fiction and drama by using slave characters and the condition of slavery as focal points.

In this book, Keizer examines theories derived from fictional works in light of more established theories of subject formation, such as psychoanalysis, Althusserian interpellation, performance theory, and theories about the formation of postmodern subjects under late capitalism.

Black Subjects shows how African American and Caribbean writers’ theories of identity formation, which arise from the varieties of black experience re-imagined in fiction, force a reconsideration of the conceptual bases of established theories of subjectivity. The striking connections Keizer draws between these two bodies of theory contribute significantly to African American and Caribbean Studies, literary theory, and critical race and ethnic studies.—Cornell University Press, Publisher

 

Black Subjects is one of the most illuminating and suggestive explorations of contemporary narratives of slavery to date. From among the myriad themes and occupations of the genre, Keizer identifies a common and compelling narrative drive: to imagine the vexed relation between slavery and subjectivity. Ranging gracefully over texts throughout the African diaspora, she offers a model example of thinking in the round-not only about slavery and subjectivity—but also about the forms, the modes, the missions of critical theory.—Deborah McDowell, University of Virginia

Black Subjects Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery is a superb analysis of contemporary narratives of slavery from the United States and the Anglophone Caribbean. Arlene R. Keizer argues that these fictions theorize the nature and formation of black subjectivity. Juxtaposing these ‘fictionalized’ theories with mainstream theories of subjectivity, Keizer decisively shifts the conversation between black literature and the dominant theoretical discourses in the humanities. Persuasively argued and elegantly written, Black Subjects is a work of creative insight and critical imagination.—Valerie Smith, Princeton University

Black Subjects offers an extended analysis and meditation on narratives of slavery in a significant portion of the African Diaspora. It concerns itself with memory—indeed, postmemory—and theories of subject formation, most of them postmodern and postcolonial in origin. It is about the legacy of slavery rather than slavery itself. Its topic is literature, fictive narratives of slavery by contemporary writers from throughout the post-civil rights and post-colonial English speaking African Diaspora. Black Subjects demonstrates how much is missed when history shuns or shies away from the aesthetic dimension of the past. The work of identity formation that Keizer so skillfully uncovers and interrogates in the works she analyzes (so perceptively and so passionately) is the thing most glaringly missing from even our most recent and most substantial histories of slavery in America—the black subject, as distinct from black agents.”—Arna Alexander Bontemps, Department of African American Studies, Arizona State University

This is no doubt one of the best books on contemporary African diaspora narratives of slavery. In a most eloquent mixture of persuasive close readings and theoretical subtlety, Arlene R. Keizer examines not just why many African diaspora writers haunt slavery as the primal scene in the refashioning of African diasporan subjectivity, but also how they do that in enabling, liberating, and even contradictory—but always unfailingly and suggestively complex—ways. A terrific achievement.
—Tejumola Olaniyan, author of Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance

By focusing her attention on the ways that contemporary black writers from the United States and the Caribbean represent slavery and its continuing legacy, Arlene R. Keizer broadens our understanding across boundaries between nations and between canonical and non-canonical writers. In a deftly rendered series of readings, she sheds light on new ways of theorizing issues of power, race, identity, and knowledge.
—Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of Who Set You Flowin’?: The African American Migration Narrative

 

 

Arlene R. Keizer, Associate Professor of English and American Civilization at Brown University.

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1996 / M.A. Stanford University, 1988 / B.A. Princeton University, 1986

 

African American literature and culture, Caribbean literature and culture (primarily Anglophone), critical race and ethnic studies, literary and critical theory, psychoanalysis, cultural studies. Black Subjects Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery (Cornell UP, 2004); articles in African American Review, American Literature, and other journals and edited books

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Not Gone With the Wind Voices of Slavery—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—9 February 2003—Unchained Memories, an HBO documentary that makes its debut tomorrow night, provides a powerful answer to that question. It gives us, through the faces and voices of African-American actors, an introduction to a vast undertaking that took place in the 1930's: the collection and preservation of the testimonies of thousands of aged former slaves in an archive known as the Slave Narrative Collection of the Federal Writers' Project. This archive unlocked the brutal secrets of slavery by using the voices of average slaves as the key, exposing the everyday life of the slave community. Rosa Starke, a slave from South Carolina, for example, told of how class divisions among the slaves were quite pronounced:

''Dere was just two classes to de white folks, buckra slave owners and poor white folks dat didn't own no slaves. Dere was more classes 'mongst de slaves. De fust class was de house servants. Dese was de butler, de maids, de nurses, chambermaids, and de cooks. De nex' class was de carriage drivers and de gardeners, de carpenters, de barber and de stable men. Then come de nex' class, de wheelwright, wagoners, blacksmiths and slave foremen. De nex' class I members was de cow men and de niggers dat have care of de dogs. All dese have good houses and never have to work hard or git a beatin'. Then come de cradlers of de wheat, de threshers and de millers of de corn and de wheat, and de feeders of de cotton gin. De lowest class was de common field niggers.''NYTimes

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 27 December 2011

 

 

 

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