Civil War

Download Wounds of Returning: Race, Memory, and Property on the by Jessica Adams PDF

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By Jessica Adams

From Storyville brothels and narratives of turn-of-the-century New Orleans to plantation excursions, Bette Davis motion pictures, Elvis memorials, Willa Cather's fiction, and the yearly felony rodeo held on the Louisiana country penal complex at Angola, Jessica Adams considers spatial and ideological evolutions of southern plantations after slavery. In Wounds of Returning, Adams exhibits that the slave prior returns to inhabit plantation landscapes which were noticeably reworked by means of tourism, purchaser tradition, and sleek modes of punishment--even these landscapes from which slavery has supposedly been banished thoroughly. Adams explores how the commodification of black our bodies in the course of slavery didn't disappear with abolition--rather, an identical precept was once reworked into glossy patron capitalism. As Adams demonstrates, besides the fact that, counternarratives and unforeseen cultural hybrids erupt out of makes an attempt to re-create the plantation as an basic scene of racial relationships or a signifier of nationwide cohesion. Peeling again the layers of plantation landscapes, Adams unearths connections among probably disparate beneficial properties of contemporary tradition, suggesting that they continue to be haunted by means of the strength of the unnatural equation of individuals as estate.

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Additional info for Wounds of Returning: Race, Memory, and Property on the Postslavery Plantation

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Before the Civil War, abolitionists had sometimes compared the entire South to a brothel;∑≠ to own human property was to engage in a transgressive form of sexuality, and transgressive sexuality became a metonym for the entire slaveholding region. ’’ When he encountered white women’s defiance of Union occupation in New Orleans, Butler announced that if they continued to resist, they would be treated as prostitutes. Just what he meant by this was a subject of scandalized debate. ∑≤ Soon New Orleans’s post-Reconstruction sexual politics would also become an object of widespread interest.

Dunbar imagines possible consequences of self-ownership as a foundational value within a society shaped by slavery: whiteness as property, she suggests, can get lost, possibly for good. ‘‘Shame’’ Sex and Segregation 35 prevents Neale from trying to find Sophie and requesting the ring from her, and as it turns out, he will never be able to reclaim it. At the cost of her health, Sophie finally saves enough to recover the ring from the pawnshop where she took it during her father’s illness. ‘‘Dear ring,’’ she says, caressing it, ‘‘ma chère petite de ma coeur, chérie de ma coeur.

When I hear music like that,’’ Claire cries, ‘‘it is as if my blood would come out of my veins and dance right there before me. . ’’≤∂ Metaphors of slavery and disease shape the white body. ≤∑ ‘‘You see, so much would come back to me if I could see my little table. I think sometimes, mon enfant, that the loss of our souvenirs is the worst loss of all for us women. . Even when our souvenirs are crumbling to dust they are fresher than we women are at the end. ’’≤∏ For King, there is something more vital about the evidence of memory than about the living body.

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