The Other Side of Terror | Erica R. Edwards || Radcliffe institute | Summary and Q&A

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May 16, 2018
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Harvard University
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The Other Side of Terror | Erica R. Edwards || Radcliffe institute

TL;DR

This talk explores the transformative impact of the War on Terror on African-American literature and highlights the counterinsurgency narratives and guerrilla forms of care in black feminist writings.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the War on Terror impact African-American literature?

The War on Terror transformed discourses of race by exporting surveillance and punishment historically aimed at black people, while racializing the figure of the Arab-Muslim enemy. This altered the relationship between blackness and the culture of US imperialism, which is reflected in African-American literature.

Q: How did black feminist writers challenge the dominant narratives?

Black feminist writers employed counterinsurgency narratives and guerrilla forms of care in their work. They exposed the intimate connections between state control and black women's experiences with surveillance, policing, incarceration, and border security.

Q: What role did literature play in shaping US foreign policy?

Black literature was instrumental in building a domestic multicultural consensus in support of US foreign policy. By using black authors as examples of American democracy, the literature made the US-led military interventions in the Middle East and Latin America more palatable to the public.

Q: How did black women writers resist state manipulation of their work?

Black women writers resisted state manipulation by creating insurgent grammars of survival. They challenged the state's discursive scaffolding and reclaimed language to expose the racial and gendered logics behind state violence and imperialism.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker examines contemporary African-American women's literature, focusing on the stories that are often overlooked.

  • She discusses how the War on Terror reshaped discourses of race in the United States and forged new connections between blackness and US imperialism.

  • The talk delves into the use of counterveillance and surveillance in black women's writing and the ways in which it exposes the intimate relationship between blackness and state control.

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