• In the Wake: On Blackness and Being

    Author(s):
    Pages: 192
    Illustrations: 31 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $79.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6283-8
  • Paperback: $22.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6294-4
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  • 1. The Wake  1

    2. The Ship  25

    3. The Hold  68

    4. The Weather  102

    Notes  135

    References  153

    Index  163
  • Finalist, 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction

  • "This could have been a one thousand page book, filled with 'evidence,' citations and systematic 'proof,' but instead it is an earned, slim volume of poetic, intellectual and, in fact, spiritual enactment of struggle. In this way, In The Wake is an effective, personal conversation with the reader that uses both fact, image, and emotion, legitimately, to illuminate argument."

    "With In the Wake, Christina Sharpe looks out from the text and really tries to see us, both those here and gone, living and dead, in the wake, for all we are. We might begin, anew, by carefully looking back—double emphasis on care."
     

    "In the Wake is a necessary chapter in a lengthy tome of ending white supremacy."

    "Mourning can be and has been a politics, but it must avoid becoming only a litany of horrors. Refusing melancholy in favor of care, In the Wake understands mourning as a practice embedded in living, and vice versa. Sharpe’s beautiful book enacts this indistinctness through pulling language apart and putting it to new purposes."

    "The book that will live on in me from this year is Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake, on living in the wake of the catastrophic violence of legal chattel slavery. In the Wake speaks in so many multiple ways (poetry, memory, theory, images) and does so in language that is never still. It is, in part, about keeping watch, not unseeing the violence that has become normative, being in the hold, holding on and still living."
     

    "In the Wake is work that holds space for what is unbearable and insists on letting it remain unbearable."
     

    "[A] masterclass on form, and a must-read for those of us committed to the beautiful sentence, as well as the work of what is commonly called theory." 

    "Christina Sharpe [is] one of the boldest and most brilliant academics of our time. . . . In the Wake is one of those rare academic books at once rigorously argued and multiply engaging: intellectually, stylistically, emotionally."

    "The present is saturated with grief about black lives in the wake of violence, being awake to the deaths and erasures can potentially create a future that can expand on being in the wake for more liveable lives of the black diaspora. It can also be the site of wake work, of attempts at creating social justice out of the metaphor Sharpe gives us.... Sharpe’s work has come at the right time." 

    Awards

  • Finalist, 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction

  • Reviews

  • "This could have been a one thousand page book, filled with 'evidence,' citations and systematic 'proof,' but instead it is an earned, slim volume of poetic, intellectual and, in fact, spiritual enactment of struggle. In this way, In The Wake is an effective, personal conversation with the reader that uses both fact, image, and emotion, legitimately, to illuminate argument."

    "With In the Wake, Christina Sharpe looks out from the text and really tries to see us, both those here and gone, living and dead, in the wake, for all we are. We might begin, anew, by carefully looking back—double emphasis on care."
     

    "In the Wake is a necessary chapter in a lengthy tome of ending white supremacy."

    "Mourning can be and has been a politics, but it must avoid becoming only a litany of horrors. Refusing melancholy in favor of care, In the Wake understands mourning as a practice embedded in living, and vice versa. Sharpe’s beautiful book enacts this indistinctness through pulling language apart and putting it to new purposes."

    "The book that will live on in me from this year is Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake, on living in the wake of the catastrophic violence of legal chattel slavery. In the Wake speaks in so many multiple ways (poetry, memory, theory, images) and does so in language that is never still. It is, in part, about keeping watch, not unseeing the violence that has become normative, being in the hold, holding on and still living."
     

    "In the Wake is work that holds space for what is unbearable and insists on letting it remain unbearable."
     

    "[A] masterclass on form, and a must-read for those of us committed to the beautiful sentence, as well as the work of what is commonly called theory." 

    "Christina Sharpe [is] one of the boldest and most brilliant academics of our time. . . . In the Wake is one of those rare academic books at once rigorously argued and multiply engaging: intellectually, stylistically, emotionally."

    "The present is saturated with grief about black lives in the wake of violence, being awake to the deaths and erasures can potentially create a future that can expand on being in the wake for more liveable lives of the black diaspora. It can also be the site of wake work, of attempts at creating social justice out of the metaphor Sharpe gives us.... Sharpe’s work has come at the right time." 

  • "Christina Sharpe brings everything she has to bear on her consideration of the violation and commodification of Black life and the aesthetic responses to this ongoing state of emergency. Through her curatorial practice, Sharpe marshals the collective intellectual heft and aesthetic inheritance of the African diaspora to show us the world as it appears from her distinctive line of sight. A searing and brilliant work." — Saidiya Hartman, author of, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

    "Christina Sharpe's deep engagement with the archive of Black knowledge production across theory, fiction, poetry, and other intellectual endeavors offers an avalanche of new insights on how to think about anti-Blackness as a significant and important structuring element of the modern scene. Cutting across theoretical genres, In the Wake will generate important intellectual debates and maybe even movements in Black studies, cultural studies, feminist studies, and beyond. This is where cultural studies should have gone a long time ago." — Rinaldo Walcott, author of, Black Like Who?: Writing Black Canada

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  • Description

    In this original and trenchant work, Christina Sharpe interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the "orthography of the wake." Activating multiple registers of "wake"—the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness—Sharpe illustrates how Black lives are swept up and animated by the afterlives of slavery, and she delineates what survives despite such insistent violence and negation. Initiating and describing a theory and method of reading the metaphors and materiality of "the wake," "the ship," "the hold," and "the weather," Sharpe shows how the sign of the slave ship marks and haunts contemporary Black life in the diaspora and how the specter of the hold produces conditions of containment, regulation, and punishment, but also something in excess of them. In the weather, Sharpe situates anti-Blackness and white supremacy as the total climate that produces premature Black death as normative. Formulating the wake and "wake work" as sites of artistic production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora, In the Wake offers a way forward.

    About The Author(s)

    Christina Sharpe is Associate Professor of English at Tufts University and the author of Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects, also published by Duke University Press.
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