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Masquerade - Scripturalizing Modernities through Black Flesh

  • Innbundet

  • 2023

  • Engelsk

Continuing his project of critical analysis of the scriptural formation of culture, Vincent L. Wimbush has gathered in this book essays by scholars of various backgrounds and orientations that focus in different registers on the theme of masquerade as the “play-element” in modern culture. Masquerade functions as window onto the mimetic performances, dynamics, arrangements, psycho-logics, and politics (“scripturalizing”) by which the “made-up” becomes fixed or realities or (“scripturalization”). Modern-world racialization (and its attendant explosions into racialisms and racisms) as the hyper-scripturalization of difference in human flesh (registered in psycho-social relations as a type of “scripture”) is argued in this book to be one of the most consequential examples and reflections of masquerade and thereby one of the primary impetuses behind and determinants of the shape of the realities of modernities. The open window onto these realities is facilitated by touchstone references to—not exhaustive treatment of—a now famous eighteenth-century life story, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself (1789). This story told by a complexly positioned Black-fleshed self-acknowledged ex-slave/“stranger” is itself a “mask-ing” that throws light on the predominantly white Anglophone world as masking (as scriptural formation). Equiano/Vassa’s story as masking helps makes a compelling case for analyzing through Black flesh the ongoing shaping of the modern and the perduring mixed when not also devastating consequences.

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