Sites of humanism : intimate encounters within Black feminist geographies




Davis, Kiara Icely

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Sites of Humanism: Intimate Encounters Within Black Feminist Geographies explores Black women’s creation and engagement with places and spaces. In particular, these selected essays consider Black women’s ability to turn oppressive or constraining structures, systems, and theories of knowledge into what Dr. Ashanté Reese calls, spaces of “containment but not confinement.” The collection begins by reflecting on two Black geographical frameworks of the human problem, W.E.B. Du Bois’ Veil/veil and Sylvia Wynter’s demonic. I consider material accounts of these racialized geographies in The Souls of Black Folk and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ slave narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The piece closes by reading Saidiya Hartman’s use of critical fabulation in Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as an aspect of the demonic grounds, and a site of opportunity for an important epistemological break for our understanding of the human. The next essay analyzes Black exploitation in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Film offers a level of visibility that is reminiscent of Western geographic practices that privilege seeing as knowing. Additionally, photographs of two Black women are included in the film, yet there are not any Black women characters. The film reminded me of the demonic, and I wondered what did it mean for these photographs to be included, and could they be read oppositionally? The final paper posits that the Humanities have an integral role in imagining being human anew. In particular, the novel is a medium of possibility. Its form can reach the conceptual crevices and excesses that lie beyond our epistemic boundaries. I read Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts as an ushering in of Sylvia Wynter’s demonic.



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