My first inclination to this prompt, what of Black temporalities in crisis, was to ask a small group of Black familiars (friends and colleagues) to talk with me about their current experience of time in quarantine, and under the present articulations of racial injustice and economic crisis. Many remarked on awaiting moments of dance and embodiment, or the body after surgery during COVID, to the forms of mutual aid arriving, just on time. Others expressed holding patterns of rage, when being called forth in work environments to engage in conversations about race, others of the crushing aftermath of an intimate partnership in quarantine that went awry, only to arrive at new forms of intimacy in self-reflection and community co-counseling, or deep expressions of freedom, when invited to social distance with a family member, and doing so outside clothing. Still others reflected on mourning a relative, loved one, distant friend, and the uncertainty of the living body, through measures that are within and outside of human control. As the call for this special issue of SAQ noted, “Black temporalities of crisis might consist of subtle, collective and individual experiences of anticipation, drawn-out boredom, acceleration, or the feeling that something has ended before something else begins, among other possibilities.” In this instance, I focus on how the stretchy drawn-out and quickening qualities of time in crisis persist. By drawing on the anonymous experiences of loved ones and moments of rebellion toward fugitivity (e.g., the maroon communities of the Great Dismal Swamp and Harriet Jacobs’s neo–slave narrative), I ruminate on the in-between moments of Black life that show up in and around ongoing crisis.
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Sarah Stefana Smith; Keeping Time: Maroon Assemblages and Black Life in Crisis. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2022; 121 (1): 11–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-9561503
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