Afterimages of Slavery

Essays on Appearances in Recent American Films, Literature, Television and Other Media

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About the Book

Since the election of President Barack Obama, many pundits have declared that we are living in a “post-racial America,” a culture where the legacy of slavery has been erased. The new essays in this collection, however, point to a resurgence of the theme of slavery in American cultural artifacts from the late twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Ranging from disciplines as diverse as African American studies, film and television, architectural studies, and science fiction, the essays provide a provocative look into how and why slavery continues to recur as a trope in American popular culture.
By exploring how authors, filmmakers, historians, and others engage and challenge the narrative of American slavery, this volume invites further study of slavery in its contemporary forms of human trafficking and forced labor and challenges the misconception that slavery is an event of the past.

About the Author(s)

Marlene D. Allen is an assistant professor of English at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and has published several articles on African American literature.
Seretha D. Williams is an associate professor of English at Augusta State University in Georgia, where she has also served as the interim director for women’s studies and the coordinator for minority advising.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Marlene D. Allen and Seretha D. Williams
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 4 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6464-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9016-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Part I. Reading and Writing Slavery

Meditation, Misremembering, Creativity, and Healing in Zakes Mda’s Cion

SERETHA D. WILLIAMS      7

Black Women’s Ghostly Re-visions of History

JOANNE CHASSOT      18

Inhabitants of Borderlands: (An)other World of Subjugation

ULA GABRIELLE GAHA      35

“If I Allow Myself to Listen”: Slavery, Historiography, and Historical Audition in David Bradley’s The Chaneysville Incident

NICOLE BRITTINGHAM FURLONGE      55

Tricksterism, Masquerades, and the Legacy of the African Diasporic Past in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber

MARLENE D. ALLEN      76

Written on the Walls: Reflections of Shifting Definitions of Slavery and Self in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

EUGENIA P. BRYAN      89

The Laveau Folk Heroine: Contemporary Fiction Revises the Slave Narrative

TATIA JACOBSON JORDAN      110

Part II. Visualizing and Positioning Slavery

Hottentot Venus: Unsettling the Linear Time of History and Science

Ž ELJKA Š VRLJUGA      126

Hollywood’s White Legal Heroes and the Legacy of Slave Codes

KATIE ROSE GUEST PRYAL      145

The Slave’s Cabin: From the Back of the Big House to the National Register of Historic Places

ANGELITA REYES      164

“Commence the Great Work”: The Historical Archive and Unspeakable Violence in Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner

JONATHAN W. GRAY      183

A Comic Routine: The Place of Slavery in Identity Formation for the Twenty-First Century

LAURA MAE LINDO      201

The Slavery of the Machine

ALEXIS HARLEY      218

About the Contributors      233

Index      235

Book Reviews & Awards

“Clearly, the essays in this collection grapple with the afterimages of slavery in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in a meaningful way. This collection is unique in its questioning of American slavery’s narrative and it should interest a vast array of scholars”—Science Fiction Studies.