Unformatted text preview: ective, from seeing slavery as a condition to viewing
enslavement as a predicament, in which enslaved Africans and their descendants never ceased to pursue a politics of belonging,
mourning, accounting, and regeneration. In part, the usefulness of social death as a concept depends on what scholars of slavery seek to explain—
black pathology or black politics, resistance or attempts to remake social life? For too long, debates about whether there were black families took precedence over
discussions of how such families were formed; disputes about whether African culture had “survived” in the Americas overwhelmed discussions of how particular
practices mediated slaves’ attempts to survive; and scholars felt compelled to prioritize the documentation of resistance over the examination of political strife in its
myriad forms. But of course, because slaves’ social and political life grew directly out of the violence and dislocation of Atlantic slavery, these are false choices. And we
may not even have to choo...
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This document was uploaded on 03/26/2014.
- Spring '14