Listening to Images
Tina M. Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women at Barnard College, and the author of Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe, also published by Duke University Press.
Quiet Soundings: The Grammar of Black Futurity
This chapter asks what it means for a black feminist to think in the future tense, defining futurity as a tense of anteriority and a tense relationship to an idea of possibility. It is the tense of possibility that grammarians refer to as the future real conditional or that which will have had to happen. It is a performance of a future that hasn’t yet happened but must. The chapter uses a black feminist conception of practice to think beyond conventional notions of resistance as the primary model for understanding the relationship of marginalized subjects to power. Focusing on the passport and identity photos of black residents in both Birmingham in the United Kingdom and Gulu in Uganda, it explores the quotidian imaging practices of black subjects whose micro-labors of struggle are frequently overlooked. Listening to these images reveals a quotidian practice of refusal that revalues efforts to realize a future beyond limited horizons confronted in everyday lives.