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

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1997 - African Americans - 281 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
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

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

MacArthur fellow Hartman (Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments) probes in this innovative critical study, which has been revised and expanded from its original 1997 edition, why emancipation failed to ... Read full review


The Stage of Sufferance
Toward a Theory of Practice
Seduction and the Ruses of Power
The Burdened Individuality of Freedom
Bodily Integrity Natural Affinities
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

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

Bibliographic information