How come you ain't got it? Dislocation as historical act in hurston's documentary texts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The essay considers Toni Cade Bambara's little-studied novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), in terms of its representation of testimony as a response to racial violence in the United States. I argue that Bambara's account of the historical Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children's Case recommends an expansion of current theories about testimony, in particular, with respect to the entwined historical and political positions of those who "speak out" against traumatic experiences in the context of racial injury. By dramatizing the clash and coherence of various forms of testimony-a mother finds her voice; a son suffers and exercises the power of his silence; and writer and reader conspire to witness without hope of conclusion-Bambara's book points the way toward a more complex notion of agency and a reformulated theory of testimony that are calibrated to the particular challenges of responding to historical and immediate violence against black Americans. To activate the testimonial practice that Bambara calls for in this epic final work, I argue, one must demand answers without foreclosing questions, speak into history without confirming its frames of reference, and lodge a grievance knowing its insufficiency to ease unending grief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-216
Number of pages16
JournalAfrican American Review
Volume46
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Fingerprint

testimony
violence
grief
witness
writer
Documentary
Testimony
Dislocation
demand
history
experience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

@article{e9f3d89d6a2d4318ace28027318bdb01,
title = "How come you ain't got it?: Dislocation as historical act in hurston's documentary texts",
abstract = "The essay considers Toni Cade Bambara's little-studied novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), in terms of its representation of testimony as a response to racial violence in the United States. I argue that Bambara's account of the historical Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children's Case recommends an expansion of current theories about testimony, in particular, with respect to the entwined historical and political positions of those who {"}speak out{"} against traumatic experiences in the context of racial injury. By dramatizing the clash and coherence of various forms of testimony-a mother finds her voice; a son suffers and exercises the power of his silence; and writer and reader conspire to witness without hope of conclusion-Bambara's book points the way toward a more complex notion of agency and a reformulated theory of testimony that are calibrated to the particular challenges of responding to historical and immediate violence against black Americans. To activate the testimonial practice that Bambara calls for in this epic final work, I argue, one must demand answers without foreclosing questions, speak into history without confirming its frames of reference, and lodge a grievance knowing its insufficiency to ease unending grief.",
author = "Kelley Wagers",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1353/afa.2013.0055",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "46",
pages = "201--216",
journal = "African American Review",
issn = "1062-4783",
publisher = "Indiana State University",
number = "2-3",

}

How come you ain't got it? Dislocation as historical act in hurston's documentary texts. / Wagers, Kelley.

In: African American Review, Vol. 46, No. 2-3, 01.01.2013, p. 201-216.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - How come you ain't got it?

T2 - Dislocation as historical act in hurston's documentary texts

AU - Wagers, Kelley

PY - 2013/1/1

Y1 - 2013/1/1

N2 - The essay considers Toni Cade Bambara's little-studied novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), in terms of its representation of testimony as a response to racial violence in the United States. I argue that Bambara's account of the historical Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children's Case recommends an expansion of current theories about testimony, in particular, with respect to the entwined historical and political positions of those who "speak out" against traumatic experiences in the context of racial injury. By dramatizing the clash and coherence of various forms of testimony-a mother finds her voice; a son suffers and exercises the power of his silence; and writer and reader conspire to witness without hope of conclusion-Bambara's book points the way toward a more complex notion of agency and a reformulated theory of testimony that are calibrated to the particular challenges of responding to historical and immediate violence against black Americans. To activate the testimonial practice that Bambara calls for in this epic final work, I argue, one must demand answers without foreclosing questions, speak into history without confirming its frames of reference, and lodge a grievance knowing its insufficiency to ease unending grief.

AB - The essay considers Toni Cade Bambara's little-studied novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), in terms of its representation of testimony as a response to racial violence in the United States. I argue that Bambara's account of the historical Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children's Case recommends an expansion of current theories about testimony, in particular, with respect to the entwined historical and political positions of those who "speak out" against traumatic experiences in the context of racial injury. By dramatizing the clash and coherence of various forms of testimony-a mother finds her voice; a son suffers and exercises the power of his silence; and writer and reader conspire to witness without hope of conclusion-Bambara's book points the way toward a more complex notion of agency and a reformulated theory of testimony that are calibrated to the particular challenges of responding to historical and immediate violence against black Americans. To activate the testimonial practice that Bambara calls for in this epic final work, I argue, one must demand answers without foreclosing questions, speak into history without confirming its frames of reference, and lodge a grievance knowing its insufficiency to ease unending grief.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84940349889&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84940349889&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1353/afa.2013.0055

DO - 10.1353/afa.2013.0055

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:84940349889

VL - 46

SP - 201

EP - 216

JO - African American Review

JF - African American Review

SN - 1062-4783

IS - 2-3

ER -