Performing what Michele Elam calls “a refusal of historical amnesia,” Danzy Senna and Emily Raboteau expose how social justice and hospitality are constructed in and around what Pierre Nora calls lieux de mémoire. Engaging particular sites of memory in the American South—places with national and personal significance—Raboteau and Senna negotiate and interrogate the interstitial spaces of racial ambiguity, liminality, and invisibility as they uncover different modes of commemoration and fend off historical forgetting. Writing about their experiences as biracial African Americans, Raboteau and Senna show readers how memorialization of black southern experience connects with communal or inherited familial memories. Their considerations of memory, and the attendant concerns about subjectivity and forgetting, demonstrate the central place of testimony to mnemonic restitution. In so doing, they also expose new ways to engage trauma: through the affect of what Lauren Berlant describes as “crisis ordinariness.”

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