A list of articles, films, and books to help you understand Slave Play from a historical context.
Hartman maps out the systemic violence visited upon the bodies and memories of enslaved black women and girls.
The author examines the effect that even mild amounts of race-based stress can have on whites in our insulated environment.
One of the most-cited works in African-American literary studies, this landmark essay draws connections between the structures of the black family that were created during slavery, and the ways in which they have manifested into contemporary familial phenomenons.
- “Feeling Brown, Feeling Down.” José Esteban Muñoz, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 2006.
Latina affect, the performativity of race, and the depressive position.
In this important treatise from the renowned poet and critical theorist, Moten examines Afro-pessimism and the work of mid-20th-century political philosopher Frantz Fanon.
Set in the 1850s South, the film follows Cassy and Luke, two black slaves who are sold to the sadistic plantation owner MacKay, who wants labor from the men and sex from the women.
The film revolves around the romance that develops between Emmi, an elderly German woman, and Ali, a Moroccan migrant worker in post-World War II Germany.
An exploitation film depicting the brutality of chattel slavery and the sexual fetishism of black bodies by the white establishment.
The concept of sexual experimentation as couples' therapy is given an early examination in this 1969 comedy.
Director Steve McQueen's Academy Award-winning tale of a Northern free black man kidnapped and sold into chattel slavery.
Spike Lee's satirical update on the minstrel tale and depiction of black culture created for white consumption.
Director John Cassavetes' blistering take on the dissolution of a marriage.
The tale of a white French farmer in Africa caught in the middle of a bloody civil war.
- “Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism.” Elizabeth Abel, Barbara Christian, and Helene Moglen, eds., 1997.
A landmark collaboration between African-American and white feminists.
Acclaimed historian Carol Anderson chronicles the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.
Both an autobiography and an intellectual history of the twentieth-century American experience.
- “Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930.” W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., 2011.
This book depicts popular culture as a crucial arena in which African Americans struggled to secure a foothold as masters of their own representation and architects of the nation's emerging consumer society.
A rare and comprehensive understanding of intercultural couples, drawing mainly upon in-depth interviews.
This epistolary memoir illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
- “The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance, and the Stage.” Soyica Diggs Colbert, 2011.
The study examines African American plays past and present, demonstrating how African American dramatists stage black performances in their plays as acts of recuperation and restoration.
- “The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States.” Joan Ferrante and Prince Brown, Jr., 2000.
A groundbreaking collection of classic and cutting-edge sociological research that gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States.
- “Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America.” Saidiya V. Hartman, 1997.
This work examines the forms of domination that usually go undetected; in particular, the encroachments of power that take place through notions of humanity, enjoyment, protection, rights, and consent.
- “Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval.” Saidiya Hartman, 2019.
This book recreates the experience of young urban black women who desired an existence other than that of domestic service, second-class citizenship, and respectable poverty.
- “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” Ibram X. Kendi, 2016.
This deeply researched and fast-moving narrative chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.
“Demonic Grounds” moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade.
- “Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry.” Philip D. Morgan, 1998.
This historical work provides a balanced appreciation for the oppressiveness of bondage and for the ability of slaves to shape their lives, showing that, whatever the constraints, slaves contributed to the making of their history.
The acclaimed writer shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree — and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.
Nash creates a new black feminist interpretative practice, one attentive to the messy contradictions — between delight and discomfort, between desire and degradation — at the heart of black pleasures.
A recent work that argues for a conception of black cultural life that exceeds post-blackness and conditions of loss.
The author interprets African diasporic and black Atlantic visual and literary texts that address racialized sexual violence and its repetition as constitutive of post-slavery subjectivity.
This book argues that understanding ignorance and the politics of such ignorance should be a key element of epistemological and social/political analyses.
Sullivan untangles the complex relationships between class and race in contemporary white identity.
- “Intercultural Couples: Exploring Diversity in Intimate Relationships.” Terri A. Karis and Kyle D. Killian, eds., 2008.
Highlighting both the struggles and successes of couples, this book challenges the principle of homogamy, helping the reader gain a deeper understanding and respect for intercultural couples.
Sharpe blends personal experience with artistic representations of black life, using multiple meanings of "wake" to illustrate the ways Black lives are determined by slavery's afterlives.
"A brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis." - Brent Hayes Edwards