The Repeating Body: Slavery's Visual Resonance in the Contemporary
The Return: Conjuring the Figure, Following the Form
Chapter 4 concerns the coalescence of literary and photographic ghosting. It focuses on iterations of ethereal haunting in literature, imbued with a hyper-dependence on black women’s “resurrecting” qualities. Mystics, preachers, and god figures maintain the black diasporic space between the living and the dead and drift in out of the black Atlantic imaginary as purposeful martyrs negotiating their place within a structured narrative of corporeal retreat. This chapter uses Avery Gordon’s work on haunting to examine how black Atlantic subjects in the twentieth century rely upon a liminal corporeality to process the memory of collective and excessive death. This last chapter shows “ghosting” or “fading” as self-protective, and one of the ways women shield themselves from the insular violence of collective memory. These articulations are one way to open a dialogue about the costs of slavery’s resonance, and to consider how the framework of representation tethers black women to lives of silence and servitude.