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IRADAC Works in Progress - Candice Jenkins

MAR 14, 2014 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


8201.01: President's Large Conf Rm


March 14, 2014: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM





Erasure, Black Interiority, and the (Post-)Racial Future

Candice Jenkins
Associate Professor
Hunter College

Using the tropes of futurity and black interiority, this essay considers Percival Everett’s Erasure (2001) as a unique exploration of a fundamental conundrum at the center of African American middle-class subjectivity: is it possible to resolve the tension between how class privilege “whitens” and conceals the body and blackness specularizes it? Everett’s narrative takes this dichotomy to its most monstrous and threatening extreme, entertaining two equally problematic figurative possibilities: a privileged body that completely escapes sociopolitical constraint, thereby becoming invisible, and a “black” body that, when completely divorced from class privilege, devolves into a kind of monstrous hyperembodiment. In separating the privileged body’s “inside” from its black surface, Everett’s text forces us to question the very logic upon which the opposition rests, and challenges the notion of a raceless future.