History Department
History Department

Gender Symp.: "'You Say I Am Wilderness. I Am': Animality, Queerness, and Subject Formation in 'Beloved' and 'A Mercy'" by Sarah Ropp, University of Texas at Austin

Fri, September 22, 2017 | GAR 1.102

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

The History Department’s Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality Presents:

"'You Say I Am Wilderness. I Am': Animality, Queerness, and Subject Formation in Beloved and A Mercy"

Featuring
Sarah Ropp
Ph.D. Student, Comparative Literature
The University of Texas at Austin

In this essay, which will form part of a chapter of my dissertation, I explore how constructs of relative humanity and animality are internalized and reproduced by black men seeking to stabilize their own tenuous human status by animalizing black women in Toni Morrison’s 1987 Beloved and 2008 A Mercy, her only two novels dealing with plantation life. Using Mel Y. Chen’s animacy hierarchy and Lee Edelman’s reproductive futurism as a framework, I consider how patriarchy/heteronormativity and notions of “the human” reinforce each other, and examine how these women resist the (still-prevalent) plantation logic of hierarchy in order to articulate their subjectivity from within the queer wilderness to which they are banished.

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About the Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality:
liberalarts.utexas.edu/history/gender-symposium/overview

Sponsored by: ​Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality, in the Department of History

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