cover of book

The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture
edited by Soyica Diggs Colbert, Robert J. Patterson and Aida Levy-Hussen
contributions by GerShun Avilez, Brandon J. Manning, Michael Chaney, Aida Levy-Hussen, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Robert J. Patterson, Douglas A. Jones, Jr., Calvin Warren, Margo Natalie Crawford and Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Rutgers University Press, 2016
eISBN: 978-0-8135-8398-3 | Paper: 978-0-8135-8395-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-8396-9
Library of Congress Classification E184.7.P79 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.9896073


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.


Nearby on shelf for United States / Elements in the population / Afro-Americans: