Article from Slavery & Abolition journal, 2008.
The jettisoning of 132 Africans from the slave ship Zong in order to claim on an insurance policy provided an iconic narrative of horror for the earliest British abolition campaigns. The story has continued to resonate as it relays between history and memory in relation to the legacy of transatlantic slavery. This article discusses the role of the Zong in shaping the 2007 bicentenary commemorations, the black Atlantic literary tradition and the campaign for reparations in order to address the interface between trauma and healing, on the one hand, and political critique and material redress, on the other.
Using the term prophetic remembrance to articulate the expression of a constituent faith in the performative capacity of language, Erica Still shows how black subjectivity is born of and interprets cultural trauma. She brings together African American neo-slave narratives and Black South African postapartheid narratives to reveal the processes by which black subjectivity accounts for its traumatic origins, names the therapeutic work of the present, and inscribes the possibility of the future.
This book is a timely humanistic touch to memory studies. It uses literature as a laboratory for the workings of the mind, and characters as the subjects of human experimentation and diagnostics. This book considers authors from different societies and historical periods.
In this book, Ron Eyerman explores the formation of the African-American identity through the theory of cultural trauma. The trauma in question is slavery, not as an institution or as personal experience, but as collective memory: a pervasive remembrance that grounded a people's sense of itself. Combining a broad narrative sweep with more detailed studies of important events and individuals, Eyerman reaches from Emancipation through the Harlem Renaissance, the Depression, the New Deal and the Second World War to the Civil Rights movement and beyond.