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Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (Perverse Modernities)by Christina Sharpe
Synopses & Reviews
Arguing that the fundamental, familiar, sexual violence of slavery and racialized subjugation have continued to shape black and white subjectivities into the present, Christina Sharpe interprets African diasporic and Black Atlantic visual and literary texts that address those andldquo;monstrous intimaciesandrdquo; and their repetition as constitutive of post-slavery subjectivity. Her illuminating readings juxtapose Frederick Douglassandrsquo;s narrative of witnessing the brutal beating of his Aunt Hester with Essie Mae Washington-Williamsandrsquo;s declaration of freedom in Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond, as well as the andldquo;generational genital fantasiesandrdquo; depicted in Gayl Jonesandrsquo;s novel Corregidora with a firsthand account of such andldquo;monstrous intimaciesandrdquo; in the journals of an antebellum South Carolina senator, slaveholder, and vocal critic of miscegenation. Sharpe explores the South Africanandndash;born writer Bessie Headandrsquo;s novel Maruandmdash;about race, power, and liberation in Botswanaandmdash;in light of the history of the KhoiSan woman Saartje Baartman, who was displayed in Europe as the andldquo;Hottentot Venusandrdquo; in the nineteenth century. Reading Isaac Julienandrsquo;s film The Attendant, Sharpe takes up issues of representation, slavery, and the sadomasochism of everyday black life. Her powerful meditation on intimacy, subjection, and subjectivity culminates in an analysis of Kara Walkerandrsquo;s black silhouettes, and the critiques leveled against both the silhouettes and the artist.
A study of how black subjectivity is formed at the site of the intimate encounter.
Christina Sharpe interprets Black Atlantic visual and literary texts that grapple with the sexual violence of slavery and racialized subjugation, and their present-day legacies.
About the Author
Christina Sharpe is Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Tufts University.
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