Salvage Work: U.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris by Angela Naimou

By Angela Naimou

Salvage Work examines modern literary responses to the law's building of personhood within the Americas. monitoring the extreme afterlives of the criminal slave character from the 19th century into the twenty-first, Angela Naimou exhibits the criminal slave to be a fractured yet generative determine for modern criminal personhood throughout different types of race, citizenship, gender, and exertions. What emerges is a compelling and unique research of ways legislation invents different types of identity and the way literature contends with the individual as a criminal fiction. via readings of Francisco Goldman's The usual Seaman, Edwidge Danticat's Krik?Krak!, Rosario Ferre's Sweet Diamond airborne dirt and dust (Maldito Amor), Gayl Jones's Song for Anninho and Mosquito, and John Edgar Wideman's Fanon, Naimou indicates how literary engagements with criminal personhood reconfigure formal narrative conventions in Black Atlantic historiography, the immigrant novel, the anticolonial romance, the trope of the conversing e-book, and the bildungsroman.

Revealing hyperlinks among colonial, civic, slave, exertions, immigration, and penal legislation, Salvage Work reframes debates over civil and human rights by way of revealing the shared hemispheric histories and results of criminal personhood throughout doubtless disparate identities-including the human and the company individual, the political refugee and the commercial migrant, and the stateless individual and the citizen.

In depicting the fabric continues to be of the felony slave character within the de-industrialized neoliberal period, those literary texts enhance a salvage aesthetic that invitations us to reconsider our political and aesthetic mind's eye of personhood. wondering liberal frameworks for civil and human rights in addition to what Naimou calls death-bound theories of personhood-in which different types of human existence are basically defined as wasted, disposable, naked, or useless in law-Salvage Work therefore responds to serious discussions of biopolitics and neoliberal globalization via exploring the potential of modern literature to reclaim the person from the felony regimes that experience marked her.

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Context, particularly the conservative fetal personhood and the progressive nonhuman animal rights movements, two movements I consider in the epilogue. 84 This book asks how legal identities proliferate and fracture precisely at those moments when legal personhood is proclaimed to be colorless, when the law claims to hear the voices of all persons equally and the market is hailed as a free system open to anyone with entrepreneurial grit. S. 85 Responding both to liberal 22 / introduction narratives of citizenship and to theories of biopolitics, which examine the politicization of life only to the extent that it affirms the sovereign power to kill, this book also asks how contemporary literary texts give narrative shape to the legal forms of life that traverse the interstices between the ideal citizen and bare life.

The racial constructs from European colonial systems operate as a second skin in one’s consciousness and within legal systems as mutually exclusive, imprisoning, and distortive: as Fanon observes of the colonial relation in Martinique, the “white man is sealed in his whiteness. S. law as a result of an interpretation of the equal protection clause under the Fourteenth Amendment in the Supreme Court case Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific (1886) suggests that corporate persons are not clearly distinct from “natural persons” but highlight the conventionality and changeability of human personhood, as if personhood (and the rights it presumes) were inalienable from the human being, or as if the Civil War had been fought to free the corporations.

147 But, in the more radical promise of declaring an antislavery sovereign state power, the latter constitution is still not free from the economic imperatives of the plantation colonial structure. ”148 This free market ideology of a certain kind will come to structure the legal identities of the nation through the neoliberal era. Unchained and unrestrained, the plantation system renews 38 / introduction the economic dispossession of Haiti’s laboring class both within Haiti and outside it, those with uncertain legal status who seek work as cane cutters and sugar mill workers in the Dominican Republic and nearby Caribbean states, the United States, and Brazil.

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