The Brink of Freedom: Improvising Life in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World
Coda: Archives for the Future
The Coda reviews how nineteenth-century black settlers in Liberia and Maya rebels in Yucatán left documents that do not only tell us who-did-what-where-when-and-why about the colonization of Liberia and the Caste War but also reflect speculatively on the meaning of freedom during that conjuncture. It argues that those reflections are often equivocal in that they make meaning in multiple directions at once. While such equivocation can appear undecided, uncertain, ambiguous—in other words, as a failure to think and act—the coda claims that they rather offer a freedom from structures of formal equality like national citizenship that speaks to and beyond today. Equivocation in these archives thus offers unexpected success, which continues to unfold in the Atlantic world: the imaginative interruption and repurposing of racial capitalism and centrist liberalism, in the name of other freedoms to come.