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Chapter 1 analyzes cultural productions of the late contemporary moment that complicate the hypervisibilty of slave women’s sexual embodiment. The chapter uses Mary Ann Doane’s theory of the photographic afterimage along with Saidiya Hartman’s articulation of gendered submission as a way to situate slave women’s bodies as corporeal “sites of memory” where it is possible for slave masters to visit their patriarchal predecessors’ handiwork in the bodies of their own slaves. The myth of black women’s sexual supremacy furthers this cause, as it is precisely the marking of their flesh that serves as the racial coding to the planter class. This chapter juxtaposes contemporary artistic representations of Sally Hemings with Brazil’s Chica da Silva, and concerns the visual positionality both women enter. In this chapter the imagistic lens of slavery confronts the space whiteness occupies within repetitive sexualized violence. This confrontation is projected onto the memory of slave women’s sexual agency, making them, in the words of Saidiya Hartman, “masters of their own subjection.”

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