Three bozals : an exploration of possibility

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2014-05

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Abstract

In Gargi Bhattacharyya’s text, Tales of Dark-Skinned Women: Race, Gender and Global Culture, she explores how dominant ways of knowing and understanding the world are based on Western epistemologies that attach value and truth to what is seen without recognizing the violence that this type of knowledge production directs onto brown and black bodies, in particular dark-skinned women. She demonstrates how story-telling has been used throughout time by black and white people to theorize the world around them, particularly offering a critique to the ways black female bodies are ill configured in white Western imaginations. In this article, I pull from Bhattacharyya’s theory on story-telling as a means of counter-history and place it in conversation with Saidiya Hartman’s Venus in Two Acts, where she discusses a methodology to counter archival violence through a blending of the imaginative and the historical. In what follows I critique Daniel Schafer’s text Anna Madigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner, by interrogating the language and framework used to construct a biography of Anna Kingsley. I then present my own tale of dark-skinned women as an imaginative counter-history to Schafer’s text, which blurs understandings of truth, collapses time and dances with the ethereal to present a story outside of the truncated narrative Schafer provides. My tale of dark-skinned women, a creative piece, Three Bozals, is my attempt at imagining possibility in impossible spaces.

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