In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs ( 2001) submits a zoology of the Southern US plantation and its environs. As a recent fugitive, Linda Brent (Jacobs's pseudonym) hides from her pursuers behind bushes, where she is injured by “a reptile of some kind,” “something cold and slimy” (83). Days later, she and family friend Peter must wait in “Snake Swamp”; “hundreds of mosquitos . . . [poison their] flesh” as “snake after snake” crawls at their feet (94–95). “But,” she insists, “even those large, venomous snakes were less dreadful to my imagination than the white men in that community called civilized” (95). For seven years, she shares an attic's crawl space with “rats and mice” as well as “hundreds of little red insects, fine as a needle's point, that [pierce] through [her] skin, and [produce] an intolerable burning” (95, 97). Even after she reaches...
Black Ecologies (Humanity, Animality, Property)
Jean-Thomas Tremblay is assistant professor of environmental humanities in York University's Department of Humanities. They are the author of Breathing Aesthetics (2022) and, along with Andrew Strombeck, a coeditor of Avant-Gardes in Crisis: Art and Politics in the Long 1970s (2021). They are currently working on two books: “The Art of Environmental Inaction” and, in collaboration with Steven Swarbrick, “Negative Life: The Cinema of Extinction.”
Jean-Thomas Tremblay; Black Ecologies (Humanity, Animality, Property). GLQ 1 January 2023; 29 (1): 129–139. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-10144463
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