In the Wake: On Blackness and Being
The Ship: The Trans*Atlantic
This chapter reads the slave ship and the ways that it lives on, marking and haunting the now through its recurrence and through the transformations enacted on Black being in the wake of those ships. The chapter begins with a critical reading of the forgotten spaces of Allan Sekula and Noël Burch’s film TheForgotten Space. The chapter then moves to reading: the murders of those Africans held on the slave ship Zong alongside M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!; a photograph of a Haitian girl child awaiting medical attention after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010; the ongoing disasters in the Mediterranean Sea; and, finally, the ship-like monuments and memorials that respond to the Middle Passage. In each instance, the chapter is concerned with thinking through the ways that the semiotics of the slave ship continue in contemporary everyday life (and are actively resisted) in the regulation of Black people in North American streets and neighborhoods, in those ongoing crossings of and drownings in the Mediterranean Sea, and in the form of the prison, the refugee camp, and the school.