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Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle

Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Demonic Grounds
    Book Description:

    Demonic Grounds moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade. Specifically, Katherine McKittrick addresses the geographic implications of slave auction blocks, Harriet Jacobs's attic, black Canada and New France, as well as the conceptual spaces of feminism and Sylvia Wynter's philosophies. _x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9794-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: Geographic Stories
    (pp. ix-xxxii)

    When Dionne Brand writes, she writes the land. Her important collection of poetryLand to Light Onis a map. But this map does not easily follow existing cartographic rules, borders, and lines.Land to Light Onprovides a different geographic story, one which allows pavement to answer questions, most of the world to be swallowed up by a woman’s mouth, and Chatham, Buxton—Ontario sites haunted by the underground railroad—to be embedded with Uganda, Sri Lanka, slave castles, and the entries and exits of Sarah Vaughan’s singing. And Brand gives up on land, too. She not only refuses...

  4. chapter 1 I Lost an Arm on My Last Trip Home: Black Geographies
    (pp. 1-36)

    In the final moments of Octavia Butler’sKindred,the protagonist, Dana Franklin, returns from the past. Dismembered, bloody, screaming, Dana has violently come through a wall into the present, having endured repeated supernatural returns to antebellum Maryland. Octavia Butler’s novel offers an interesting introduction to black geographies: Dana’s predicament, as a contemporary subject forced into a time-space compression and a time-space reversal, allows her to confront and produce several landscapes. Present and past geographies, while distinguishable and particular, are also enmeshed vis-à-vis Dana’s bodily and psychic experiences. Her supernatural status, as a time-traveling present-past subject, fractures rational time-space progression by...

  5. chapter 2 The Last Place They Thought Of: Black Women’s Geographies
    (pp. 37-64)

    I begin this discussion of black women’s geographies with the hiding place Harriet Jacobs [Linda Brent] describes in her slave narrative,Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself,her grandmother’s garret. Learning from her slave owner, Dr. Flint, that her children would soon be “broken in” and that his abuses of her would escalate, Linda Brent devised a plan to flee his plantation in Edenton, North Carolina, with the purpose of saving herself and her children.¹ After concealing herself in neighbors’ homes and a local swamp, Brent fl ed to the small 9’ x 7’ x...

  6. chapter 3 The Authenticity of This Story Has Not Been Documented: Auction Blocks
    (pp. 65-90)

    The slave auction block at Green Hill Plantation in Virginia (see Figure 2) is described as a stone table that was used for the auction and sale of slaves.¹ Orville W. Carroll, who mapped and surveyed the infrastructure and geography of Green Hill Plantation in 1960 , has suggested that the auction block, while certainly evidence of plantation tradition, has an uncertain history. He writes that although “the stone table was used to display the best qualities of the slaves,” the “authenticity of this story has not been documented.”²Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter,by William Wells Brown, which tells...

  7. chapter 4 Nothing’s Shocking: Black Canada
    (pp. 91-120)

    There are only a handful of narratives about Marie-Joseph Angélique, the Portuguese-born slave who allegedly burned down most of Montreal, New France, in April 1734. Poems and a song, two plays and a film, a novel, historical footnotes, an art exhibit, brief historical inquiries, one extensive history. Accused of setting fire to her mistress’s home and attempting to escape slavery while the fire spread throughout the city, Angélique was captured, arrested for arson, confessed under torture, was publicly executed by hanging, and cremated. Angélique’s place in black Canadian history is, as far as counternarratives go, an important one. Not only...

  8. chapter 5 Demonic Grounds: Sylvia Wynter
    (pp. 121-142)

    The discussion of black geographies in the previous chapters has demonstrated that racial-sexual domination is an ongoing spatial project. I have been suggesting that the ideological naturalization of black women is correlated to the production of space, highlighting three processes. First, ideas, about black femininity, racial superiority, and difference are spatialized, consequently curtailing subaltern geographic desires and opportunities. In this case, the historical and historically present body is at stake, frequently returning us to questions of geographic captivity, ownership, and dispossession as they are connected to corporeal schemas. Second, black women’s unique geographic concerns are concealed by racial, sexual, and...

  9. Conclusion: Stay Human
    (pp. 143-146)

    What Sylvia Wynter’s analytical grounds make available, for geography, is a space to rethink the complex linkages between history, blackness, race, and place. Rather than situating the grounds of blackness within anticipated realms of existing geographic arrangements (inside/outside, or, as I have mentioned in earlier chapters, descriptively paradoxical and across), I have tried to use Wynter’s ideas to notice where black human geographies might take us. What I mean by this is that Wynter opens up a new function for human geographies, one that takes “new forms of life” as seriously as it takes biocentric spatial organizations (or present forms...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 147-148)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 149-170)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-186)
  13. Index
    (pp. 187-190)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-191)