Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-making in Nineteenth-century America

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1997 - History - 281 pages
0 Reviews
In this provocative and original exploration of racial subjugation during slavery and its aftermath, Saidiya Hartman illumines the forms of terror and resistance that shaped black identity. Scenes of Subjection examines the forms of domination that usually go undetected; in particular, the encroachments of power that take place through notions of humanity, enjoyment, protection, rights, and consent. By looking at slave narratives, plantation diaries, popular theater, slave performance, freedmen's primers, and legal cases, Hartman investigates a wide variety of "scenes" ranging from the auction block and minstrel show to the staging of the self-possessed and rights-bearing individual of freedom. While attentive to the performance of power--the terrible spectacles of slaveholders' dominion and the innocent amusements designed to abase and pacify the enslaved--and the entanglements of pleasure and terror in these displays of mastery, Hartman also examines the possibilities for resistance, redress and transformation embodied in black performance and everyday practice. This important study contends that despite the legal abolition of slavery, emergent notions of individual will and responsibility revealed the tragic continuities between slavery and freedom. Bold and persuasively argued, Scenes of Subjection will engage readers in a broad range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
3
The Stage of Sufferance
17
Toward a Theory of Practice
49
Seduction and the Ruses of Power
79
The Burdened Individuality of Freedom
115
Bodily Integrity Natural Affinities
164
Notes
207
Selected Bibliography
255
Index
277
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1997)

Saidiya V. Hartman, Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Bibliographic information