Get Against the Closet: Identity, Political Longing, and Black PDF

By Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman

ISBN-10: 0822352249

ISBN-13: 9780822352242

In opposed to the Closet, Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman interrogates and demanding situations cultural theorists' interpretations of sexual transgression in African American literature. She argues that, from the mid-nineteenth century during the 20th, black writers used depictions of erotic transgression to contest renowned theories of identification, pathology, nationwide belonging, and racial distinction in American tradition. Connecting metaphors of sexual transgression to express historic classes, Abdur-Rahman explains how tropes corresponding to sadomasochism and incest illuminated the psychodynamics of specific racial accidents and prompt varieties of social fix and political redress from the time of slavery, via post-Reconstruction and the civil rights and black energy hobbies, to the overdue 20th century. Abdur-Rahman brings black feminist, psychoanalytic, serious race, and poststructuralist theories to undergo on literary genres from slave narratives to technological know-how fiction. studying works by means of African American writers, together with Frederick Douglass, Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Jacobs, James Baldwin, and Octavia Butler, she exhibits how literary representations of transgressive sexuality expressed the longings of African americans for person and collective freedom. Abdur-Rahman contends that these representations have been primary to the advance of African American kinds of literary expression and modes of political intervention and cultural self-fashioning.

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Additional info for Against the Closet: Identity, Political Longing, and Black Figuration

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Sexual desires could be e√ectively denied and the accompanying anxiety and guilt in some measure assuaged, however, by imputing them to others. It is not we, but others, who are guilty. ’’≥∞ He goes on to describe the methods by which black men accused of raping white women were punished: the penalty for black men’s sexual encounters with white women was either castration or execution. The criminality of sexual violence was conflated with interracial sex, as both were considered debased and inappropriate expressions of sexual desire.

Strict heterosexuality in the context of monogamous marriage was reserved for members of the master class. Sexual mores and plantation sexual practices of the early nineteenth century supported the social order of slavery. ’’ While I will not go so far as to posit that ‘‘peculiar’’ in this designation connotes all that is meant by ‘‘queer’’ as it is used in the current academic and activist lexicon to refer to non-heteronormative sexuality and identity, I do think it is important to recognize the synonymity of these two terms to grasp fully what the designation ‘‘peculiar’’ reveals about the sexual arrangements and, therefore, the larger social infrastructure of the institution.

To glean rounded, unabashed accounts of the sexual and reproductive lives of slaves from the reports they have left, it is important to interpret sites of suggestive silence and scenes of acknowledged discursive or representational impossibility. ’’π I want to focus on the rhetorical moves Hartman makes in this statement, for I think that some attention to them provides a useful way to introduce in general the focus of this section: the imposition of silence on slaves and their strategic 28 chapter one appropriation and management of silence as a discursive measure and as a method for resisting enslavement.

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Against the Closet: Identity, Political Longing, and Black Figuration by Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman


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