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Beyond Mourning: Afro-Pessimism in Contemporary African American Fiction

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title
Beyond Mourning: Afro-Pessimism in Contemporary African American Fiction
author
Huggins, Kathryn
abstract
This thesis engages questions about the relationship between black life and black pain within the confines of a racist society to defend black subjects from the continued violence of systemic racism. Through a reading of three contemporary African American fiction texts, this thesis considers the implications of reading black life through its relationship to systemic racist violence to consider the possibilities of futures for black life beyond this circumscription of a relationship to black pain. This thesis reads Citizen: An American Lyric, Between the World and Me, and Get Out as texts which share a similarly afro-pessimistic understanding of black life as defined by this relationship to systemic racist violence. These readings protest the precariousness of black life to everyday racist violence by offering space for empathetic engagement between black subjects and a wider (white) readership. These texts insist that readers engage with the pain of racial embodiment, particularly the haunting awareness of history of racist violence and the fear of anticipating one’s own victimization to racist subjection. These texts demand a future for black subjectivity in which black life is not constructed by its relationship to black pain. This thesis considers the different possibilities these texts imagine for black life beyond its circumscription by a history of racist subjection to imagine what freedom could look like for black subjectivity.
subject
African American fiction
afro-pessimism
Claudia Rankine
contemporary literature
Jordan Peele
Ta-Nehisi Coates
contributor
Brown, Christopher M (committee chair)
Franco, Dean J (committee member)
Greiman, Jennifer (committee member)
date
2018-05-24T08:35:53Z (accessioned)
2018-05-24T08:35:53Z (available)
2018 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/90692 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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