Being Property Once Myself

Being Property Once Myself
Title Being Property Once Myself PDF eBook
Author Joshua Bennett
Publisher Harvard University Press
Pages 225
Release 2020-03-31
Genre Literary Criticism
ISBN 0674980301

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A prize-winning poet argues that blackness acts as the caesura between human and nonhuman, man and animal. Throughout US history, black people have been configured as sociolegal nonpersons, a subgenre of the human. Being Property Once Myself delves into the literary imagination and ethical concerns that have emerged from this experience. Each chapter tracks a specific animal figure—the rat, the cock, the mule, the dog, and the shark—in the works of black authors such as Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Jesmyn Ward, and Robert Hayden. The plantation, the wilderness, the kitchenette overrun with pests, the simultaneous valuation and sale of animals and enslaved people—all are sites made unforgettable by literature in which we find black and animal life in fraught proximity. Joshua Bennett argues that animal figures are deployed in these texts to assert a theory of black sociality and to combat dominant claims about the limits of personhood. Bennett also turns to the black radical tradition to challenge the pervasiveness of antiblackness in discourses surrounding the environment and animals. Being Property Once Myself is an incisive work of literary criticism and a close reading of undertheorized notions of dehumanization and the Anthropocene.

Owed

Owed
Title Owed PDF eBook
Author Joshua Bennett
Publisher Penguin
Pages 96
Release 2020-09-01
Genre Poetry
ISBN 0525505652

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From a 2021 Whiting Award and Guggenheim Fellow recipient, a “rhapsodic, rigorous poetry collection, which pays homage to everyday Black experience in the U.S.” (The New Yorker) Gregory Pardlo described Joshua Bennett's first collection of poetry, The Sobbing School, as an "arresting debut" that was "abounding in tenderness and rich with character," with a "virtuosic kind of code switching." Bennett's new collection, Owed, is a book with celebration at its center. Its primary concern is how we might mend the relationship between ourselves and the people, spaces, and objects we have been taught to think of as insignificant, as fundamentally unworthy of study, reflection, attention, or care. Spanning the spectrum of genre and form--from elegy and ode to origin myth--these poems elaborate an aesthetics of repair. What's more, they ask that we turn to the songs and sites of the historically denigrated so that we might uncover a new way of being in the world together, one wherein we can truthfully reckon with the brutality of the past and thus imagine the possibilities of our shared, unpredictable present, anew.

The Study of Human Life

The Study of Human Life
Title The Study of Human Life PDF eBook
Author Joshua Bennett
Publisher Penguin
Pages 145
Release 2022-09-20
Genre Poetry
ISBN 0525508325

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An acclaimed poet further extends his range into the realm of speculative fiction, while addressing issues as varied as abolition, Black ecological consciousness, and the boundless promise of parenthood Featuring the novella “The Book of Mycah,” soon to be adapted by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions & Warner Bros. TV Across three sequences, Joshua Bennett’s new book recalls and reimagines social worlds almost but not entirely lost, all while gesturing toward the ones we are building even now, in the midst of a state of emergency, together. Bennett opens with a set of autobiographical poems that deal with themes of family, life, death, vulnerability, and the joys and dreams of youth. The central section, “The Book of Mycah,” features an alternate history where Malcolm X is resurrected from the dead, as is a young black man shot by the police some fifty years later in Brooklyn. The final section of The Study of Human Life are poems that Bennett has written about fatherhood, on the heels of his own first child being born last fall.

Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care

Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care
Title Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care PDF eBook
Author Amelia DeFalco
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 212
Release 2023-09-19
Genre Literary Criticism
ISBN 0192886126

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Over the past decade cultural theory has seen a number of 'turns' - the materialist turn, the animal turn, the affective turn - that address the human as an affective, embodied, and ultimately vulnerable animal embedded in dense webs of more-than-human relations, in short as a posthuman phenomenon. Care philosophy shares this focus on embodiment and vulnerability in its insistence on interdependence as the defining condition of human life, making it well positioned for a posthuman turn. To this end, Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care draws together contemporary narrative fictions that challenge humanist conceptions of care in their imaginative depiction of more-than-human affective bonds, arguing for an expansion care philosophy's central figure: the embodied, embedded, and encumbered 'human'. Fictional narratives of care between humans and robots, bioengineered creatures, clones, nonhuman animals, aliens or inanimate things, highlight the limits of humanist ethical models' capacity to register and accommodate posthuman relational intimacies, while gesturing towards a model of care able to accommodate networked interdependencies that extend beyond the human realm. Texts by Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich, Louisa Hall, Eva Hornung, Kazuo Ishiguro, Bhanu Kapil, and Jesmyn Ward, along with films and television programmes like Robot and Frank, Under the Skin, and Real Humans, depict a range of scenarios in which more-than-human care relations not only supersede human-human relationships, but suggest new human/animal/machine ways of being that offer novel insights into the possible presents and futures of posthuman care. Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care reveals how these fictions do their own theorizing, imagining the politics, ethics and aesthetics of specific, contextualized scenarios of posthuman contact and companionship. Interweaving posthuman theory, care philosophy and contemporary fiction, Curious Kin in Fictions of Posthuman Care offers generative visions of care that make room for the incredible range of affects, energies, behaviours, attachments and dependencies that produce and sustain life in more-than-human worlds.

Stay Black and Die

Stay Black and Die
Title Stay Black and Die PDF eBook
Author I. Augustus Durham
Publisher Duke University Press
Pages 193
Release 2023-11-17
Genre Social Science
ISBN 1478027657

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In Stay Black and Die, I. Augustus Durham examines melancholy and genius in black culture, letters, and media from the nineteenth century to the contemporary moment. Drawing on psychoanalysis, affect theory, and black studies, Durham explores the black mother as both a lost object and a found subject often obscured when constituting a cultural legacy of genius across history. He analyzes the works of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Marvin Gaye, Octavia E. Butler, and Kendrick Lamar to show how black cultural practices and aesthetics abstract and reveal the lost mother through performance. Whether attributing Douglass’s intellect to his matrilineage, reading Gaye’s falsetto singing voice as a move to interpolate black female vocality, or examining the women in Ellison’s life who encouraged his aesthetic interests, Durham demonstrates that melancholy becomes the catalyst for genius and genius in turn is a signifier of the maternal. Using psychoanalysis to develop a theory of racial melancholy while “playing” with affect theory to investigate racial aesthetics, Durham theorizes the role of the feminine, especially the black maternal, in the production of black masculinist genius.

The Rich Earth Between Us

The Rich Earth Between Us
Title The Rich Earth Between Us PDF eBook
Author Shelby Johnson
Publisher UNC Press Books
Pages 231
Release 2024-03-05
Genre Literary Criticism
ISBN

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In this theory-rich study, Shelby Johnson analyzes the works of Black and Indigenous writers in the Atlantic World, examining how their literary production informs "modes of being" that confronted violent colonial times. Johnson particularly assesses how these authors connected to places—whether real or imagined—and how those connections enabled them to make worlds in spite of the violence of slavery and settler colonialism. Johnson engages with works written in a period engulfed by the extraordinary political and social upheavals of the Age of Revolution and Indian Removal, and these texts—which include not only sermons, life writing, and periodicals but also descriptions of embodied and oral knowledge, as well as material objects—register defiance to land removal and other forms of violence. In studying writers of color during this era, Johnson probes the histories of their lived environment and of the earth itself—its limits, its finite resources, and its metaphoric mortality—in a way that offers new insights on what it means to imagine sustainable connections to the ground on which we walk.

an other

an other
Title an other PDF eBook
Author Sharon Patricia Holland
Publisher Duke University Press
Pages 224
Release 2023-07-03
Genre Social Science
ISBN 1478027061

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In an other, Sharon Patricia Holland offers a new theorization of the human animal/divide by shifting focus from distinction toward relation in ways that acknowledge that humans are also animals. Holland centers ethical commitments over ontological concerns to spotlight those moments when Black people ethically relate with animals. Drawing on writers and thinkers ranging from Hortense Spillers, Sara Ahmed, Toni Morrison, and C. E. Morgan to Jane Bennett, Jacques Derrida, and Donna Haraway, Holland decenters the human in Black feminist thought to interrogate blackness, insurgence, flesh, and femaleness. She examines MOVE’s incarnation as an animal liberation group; uses sovereignty in Morrison’s A Mercy to understand blackness, indigeneity, and the animal; analyzes Charles Burnett’s films as commentaries on the place of animals in Black life; and shows how equestrian novels address Black and animal life in ways that rehearse the practices of the slavocracy. By focusing on doing rather than being, Holland demonstrates that Black life is not solely likened to animal life; it is relational and world-forming with animal lives.