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Attending to Time in Narratives of Enslavement: Temporal Alterities and Lived Experiences of Time in Toni Morrison's Beloved

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abstract
This paper examines alternative temporal structures and experiences under conditions of enslavement and its afterlives in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. In particular, it looks to how the novel’s characters conceive of and experience time in ways which depart from dominant temporal structures found in and reinforced by the temporality of the Western archive. I refer to these alternative temporal experiences as temporal alterities, and I examine several different kinds of time in the novel as represented in the characters’ narrated phenomenological experiences. Through a series of close-readings and engagement with African Americanist scholarship, I interrogate how the condition of enslavement within the specific context of the novel produces these temporal alterities and examine the embodied and emotional impact of such time. I provide a reading of Morrison’s novel which preferences the characters’ lived experiences of time as a lens through which to better understand the novel’s enslaved subjectivities. Additionally, I forward a reading practice that may be applied to narratives of enslavement otherwise, one which moves away from the temporality of the archive as a lens through which to read and understand enslaved subjectivities and instead opens consideration for any and all possible temporal experiences.
subject
Archive
Enslavement
Temporality
Toni Morrison
contributor
Bischoff, Rachel (author)
Brown, Christopher (committee chair)
Hena, Omaar (committee member)
Bowie, Rian (committee member)
date
2021-06-03T08:36:05Z (accessioned)
2021-06-03T08:36:05Z (available)
2021 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/98800 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Attending to Time in Narratives of Enslavement: Temporal Alterities and Lived Experiences of Time in Toni Morrison's Beloved
type
Thesis

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