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Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination

Edited by Bertram D. Ashe and Ilka Saal
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

About the Authors

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.


"Ashe and Saal offer an important update to teaching and discussing contemporary representations of slavery."—Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Bacca Foundation Associate Professor, Duke University

"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

9780295746630 : slavery-and-the-post-black-imagination-ashe-saal
Paperback / softback
248 Pages
$30.00 USD
9780295746647 : slavery-and-the-post-black-imagination-ashe-saal
248 Pages
$95.00 USD

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Trey Ellis, OtherBertram D. Ashe
Oct 2003 - Northeastern University Press
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