In the Wake: On Blackness and Being
This chapter thinks through containment, regulation, punishment, capture, and captivity. In this chapter Sharpe reads the repetition into the present of the architectonics of the slave-ship hold and what is in excess of those states of capture. Taking up the manifold representations in which blackness becomes the symbol, par excellence, for the less-than-human being condemned to death, the chapter tracks how those deaths are imagined, spoken, and written about, and the ways that the conditions that produce Black death are not ameliorated. The chapter, though, also examines Black optics and ways of producing enfleshed work from the hold, in excess of the hold. Each section of this chapter maintains that it is the tension between being and instrumentality that is Black being in the wake.