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Scenes of Subjection

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Scenes of Subjection Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this provocative and original exploration of racial subjugation during slavery and its aftermath, Saidiya Hartman illumines the forms of terror and resistance that shaped black identity. Scenes of Subjection examines the forms of domination that usually go undetected; in particular, the encroachments of power that take place through notions of humanity, enjoyment, protection, rights, and consent. By looking at slave narratives, plantation diaries, popular theater, slave performance, freedmen's primers, and legal cases, Hartman investigates a wide variety of "scenes" ranging from the auction block and minstrel show to the staging of the self-possessed and rights-bearing individual of freedom. While attentive to the performance of power--the terrible spectacles of slaveholders' dominion and the innocent amusements designed to abase and pacify the enslaved--and the entanglements of pleasure and terror in these displays of mastery, Hartman also examines the possibilities for resistance, redress and transformation embodied in black performance and everyday practice. This important study contends that despite the legal abolition of slavery, emergent notions of individual will and responsibility revealed the tragic continuities between slavery and freedom. Bold and persuasively argued, Scenes of Subjection will engage readers in a broad range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Eric Lott's award-winning Love and Theft, Hartman's new book shows how the violence of captivity and enslavement was embodied in many of the performance practices that grew from, and about, slave culture in antebellum America. Using tools from anthropology and history as well as literary criticism, she examines a wealth of material, including songs, dance, stories, diaries, narratives, and journals to provide new insights into a range of issues. She looks particularly at the presentations of slavery and blackness in minstrelsy, melodrama, and the sentimental novel; the disparity between actual slave culture and "managed" plantation amusements; the construction of slave culture in nineteenth-century ethnographic writing; the rhetorical performance of slave law and slave narratives; the dimension of slave performance practice; and the political consciousness of folklore. Particularly provocative is her analysis of the slave pen and auction block, which transmogrified terror into theatre, and her reading of the rhetoric of seduction in slavery law and legal cases concerning rape. Persuasively showing that the exercise of power is inseparable from its display, Scenes of Subjection will interest readers involved in a wide range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.

About the Author

Saidiya Hartman is Associate Professor of English at the University of California-Berkeley

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195089844
Author:
Hartman, Saidiya V.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
Hartman, Saidiya
Author:
null, Saidiya V.
Location:
New York :
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
American - African American & Black
Subject:
African-American & Black
Subject:
Literature/English | American Literature | 19th C
Subject:
American - African American
Subject:
African Americans - History - To 1863
Subject:
Slaves -- United States -- Social conditions.
Subject:
US History-General
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
Race and American Culture Paperback
Series Volume:
no. 96-10
Publication Date:
19970931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 illus.
Pages:
296
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9 x 0.8 in 0.956 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » Slavery and Reconstruction
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » US History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Scenes of Subjection New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$44.50 In Stock
Product details 296 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195089844 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In the tradition of Eric Lott's award-winning Love and Theft, Hartman's new book shows how the violence of captivity and enslavement was embodied in many of the performance practices that grew from, and about, slave culture in antebellum America. Using tools from anthropology and history as well as literary criticism, she examines a wealth of material, including songs, dance, stories, diaries, narratives, and journals to provide new insights into a range of issues. She looks particularly at the presentations of slavery and blackness in minstrelsy, melodrama, and the sentimental novel; the disparity between actual slave culture and "managed" plantation amusements; the construction of slave culture in nineteenth-century ethnographic writing; the rhetorical performance of slave law and slave narratives; the dimension of slave performance practice; and the political consciousness of folklore. Particularly provocative is her analysis of the slave pen and auction block, which transmogrified terror into theatre, and her reading of the rhetoric of seduction in slavery law and legal cases concerning rape. Persuasively showing that the exercise of power is inseparable from its display, Scenes of Subjection will interest readers involved in a wide range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.
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