Fugitive Time: Black Culture and Utopian Desire
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This project examines how African diasporic writers and filmmakers from Zimbabwe, Martinique, Britain, and the United States inscribe into their works a sense of anticipation of release from subjection, as if to experience in advance the feeling of unequivocal bodily relief. Charting its appearance in both descriptive content as well as aesthetic form—such as metaphor, narrative structure, and aspects of cinematic editing—“Fugitive Time” shows how this recurring form of utopian time-consciousness distinct to African diasporic cultural expression evolves from the 18th century slave narrative to the contemporary novel, and how it mutates across disparate global geographies. In epic poetry, autobiography, experimental film, and historical novels, the project isolates this fugitive anticipation of the outside of black subjection and the persistent memory of violence that engenders it. In these works, utopia, however elusive, lies in that moment when the body at last finds release.
African diaspora studies
Philosophy of time
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