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Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism in the Antebellum U.S (Paperback)
  • Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism in the Antebellum U.S (Paperback)
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Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism in the Antebellum U.S (Paperback)

(author)
£24.99
Paperback 252 Pages / Published: 16/06/2011
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Specters of Democracy is undergirded by three principal lines of critical inquiry. Firstly, it correlates representation in art with representation in politics as a specific cultural juncture and as a particular concern of African American writers at this historical moment-something that I am calling the "aesthetics of nationalism." Secondly, it argues that politics can become strategically discursive, almost as a replacement of physicality itself; a phenomenon that is especially noticeable when one considers the enslaved black body. In the case of African America, especially post-Fugitive Slave Law when physical movement becomes even more restricted and tenuous, democratic discourse, ironically, becomes increasingly mobile and transcendent, seemingly separated from black bodies themselves, thereby creating a de-territorialized field of political engagement less bound to physical location. Thirdly, the book theorizes the disjunction between the aesthetic and the political as an important liminal space: the realm of the spectral.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195340358
Number of pages: 252
Weight: 368 g
Dimensions: 229 x 150 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In Specters of Democracy, Wilson provides a brilliant reconceptualization of American democracy, positing it as an institution which, from its very origins, was constituted by the shadowy presence of its black subjects. Drawing upon representations from a variety of artistic forms, and with deft and detailed consideration of their sensory as well as intellectual and emotional impacts, Wilson's careful textual analyses are matched by his remarkable acuity with legal and political theory. * Imani Perry, Princeton University *
Navigating brilliantly between representations of blacks and traces of blackness in nineteenth-century U.S. formations of democracy and citizenship, Ivy Wilson balances a compelling, informed reading of literary and visual texts with a persuasive, creative linkage of aesthetics, rhetoric, politics, and cultural studies. * Thadious M. Davis, University of Pennsylvania *
Specters of Democracy gives close attention to visual media, providing a suggestive new theorization of how visual and aural aspects of print culture help produce U.S. democracy. * Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University *
Brilliantly conceived, and written with uncommon verve, Specters of Democracy surprises at every turn. Wilson's core argument, supported by a rich body of evidence from literature and art especially, should inspire fresh readings of the subject of race in nineteenth-century America. His book casts a brave new light on our understanding of this vexed but vital topic. * Arnold Rampersad, Stanford University *
...Wilson aims to forge a new understanding of black citizenship, which began to move from shadow to substance in the era before the Civil War. Specialists will appreciate Wilson's ambitious argument... * CHOICE *

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