The Other Side of Terror: Blackness and the Culture of US Empire

Literature/African American Studies

How did the “War on Terror” transform race and, in turn, change African American literature? My monograph, “The Other Side of Terror: Blackness and the Culture of US Empire,” argues that the making of US empire as a way of life or culture throughout the long war on terror has transformed contemporary black writing. Studies of this literature have been dominated by analyses of generational rifts based in masculinist claims of Oedipal rupture, but my historicist analysis of contemporary black literature reveals how it both reflects and ruptures the racial gendered discourses of the War on Terror. I argue that work by black feminist writers such as Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and Alice Randall expose the War on Terror not as a rupture with previous modes of dominance but as a moment of intensification in which existing codes of race, nation, and security converge to reinvent citizenship.

My research partner will be working with me to conduct research on June Jordan's correspondence and manuscript writings in the Schlesinger Library. Tasks will include photographing, copying, and logging archival items; taking notes; and researching other primary and secondary materials. I look forward to interesting conversations about what stands out to us in the archival materials we are studying.

My research partner will gain experience in working with primary source documents from the Schlesinger Library; in addition, I expect that we will have some very enriching conversations about literature, race, and power.