The Psychic Hold of Slavery by Soyica Diggs Colbert
Legacies in American Expressive Culture

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What would it mean to “get over slavery”? Is such a thing possible? Is it even desirable? Should we perceive the psychic hold of slavery as a set of mental manacles that hold us back from imagining a postracist America? Or could the psychic hold of slavery be understood as a tool, helping us get a grip on the systemic racial inequalities and restricted liberties that persist in the present day?    Featuring original essays from an array of established and emerging scholars in the interdisciplinary field of African American studies, The Psychic Hold of Slavery offers a nuanced dialogue upon these questions. With a painful awareness that our understanding of the past informs our understanding of the present—and vice versa—the contributors place slavery’s historical legacies in conversation with twenty-first-century manifestations of antiblack violence, dehumanization, and social death.    Through an exploration of film, drama, fiction, performance art, graphic novels, and philosophical discourse, this volume considers how artists grapple with questions of representation, as they ask whether slavery can ever be accurately depicted, trace the scars that slavery has left on a traumatized body politic, or debate how to best convey that black lives matter. The Psychic Hold of Slavery thus raises provocative questions about how we behold the historically distinct event of African diasporic enslavement and how we might hold off the transhistorical force of antiblack domination. 

About Soyica Diggs Colbert

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SOYICA DIGGS COLBERT is an associate professor of African American studies and theater and performance studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is the author of The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance and the Stage. ROBERT J. PATTERSON is an associate professor of African American studies and English at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he also directs the African American Studies program. He is the author of Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture. AIDA LEVY-HUSSEN is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of the forthcoming book, How To Read African American Literature: Post–Civil Rights Fiction and the Task of Interpretation.
Published July 20, 2016 by Rutgers University Press. 240 pages
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