‘Stammering tongue’ is the governing metaphor we offer in our reading of the border. The border, we read as a central technique of both the modern state and the violence that produces it. Our project is a diffractive encounter with the modality of implicating and complicating reading and writing. The paper offers a reading of two recent texts, Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being that draws from the metaphor/practice of the Middle Passage to offer “The Wake,” “The Ship,” “The Hold,” and “The Weather,” to theorize black violability, black death and black living. We read Sharpe beside Jasbir K. Puar’s The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability where she uses the notion of debility to stress the relations between harm, gender, race, war and labour. We offer the ‘stammering tongue,’ in pursuit of a conversation between ourselves, Sharpe and Puar. The stammering tongue is a racialized, sexualized border that produces im/possible readings and utterances. We frame the stammering tongue as one that turns to negativity and reclaims lack to generate potentiality from that lack.
Berlant, Lauren. Cruel Optimism. Duke UP, 2011.
Bhattacharyya, Gargi. Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival. Rowman and Littlefield International, 2018. Kindle edition.
Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous Conditions. The Women’s Press, 1988.
Edjabe, Ntone, ed. “The Invention of Zimbabwe.” Chimurenga Chronic, 2018.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1996.
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge UP, 1993.
Goyal, Yogita. “Africa and the Black Atlantic.” Research in African Literatures vol. 45, no. 3, 2014, pp. v–xxv. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.45.3.v.
Gqola, Pumla Dineo. What is Slavery to Me? Postcolonial Slave Memory in Post-apartheid South Africa. Wits UP, 2010.
Harris, Ashleigh. “Awkward Form and Writing the African Present.” Johannesburg Salon 7, 2014, pp. 3–8.
Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe vol. 26, 2008, pp. 1–14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/-12-2-1.
Julien, Eileen. “The Extroverted African Novel.” The Novel. Ed. Franco Moretti. Einaudi, 2006, pp. 155–179.
Keegan, Cáel M. “Tongues without Bodies: The Wachowskis’ Sense8.” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 2016, pp. 605-610. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/23289252-3545275.
Kim, Hosu. “The Parched Tongue.” The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Eds. Patricia Ticineto Clough and Jean Halley. Duke UP, 2007, pp. 34–46.
Krishnan, Madhu. “Affiliation, Disavowal and National Commitment in Third Generation African Literature.” Ariel vol. 44, no. 1, 2013, pp. 73–97. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/ari.2013.0006.
Liu, Xin. Trilling Race: The Political Economy of Racialised Visual-Aural Encounters. Åbo Akademi UP, 2015.
Lowe, Lisa. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Duke UP, 2015.
McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and Cartographies of Struggle. U of Minnesota Press, 2006.
Moji, Polo Belina. “New Names, Translational Subjectivities: (Dis)location and (Re)naming in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.” Journal of African Cultural Studies vol. 27, no. 2, 2015, pp. 181–190. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2014.993937.
Mudiwa, Rudo. “Feeling Precarious.” Transition vol. 123, 2017, pp. 78–88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2979/transition.123.1.08.
Musila, Grace A. “Embodying Experience and Agency in Yvonne Vera’s Without a Name and Butterfly Burning.” Research in African Literatures vol. 38, no. 2, 2007, pp. 49–63. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4618373.
Ndlovu, Isaac. “Ambivalence of Representation: African Crises, Migration and Citizenship in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.” African Identities vol. 14, no. 2, 2016, pp. 132–146. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2015.1108838.
Osinubi, Taiwo Adetunji. “Micro-politics of the Buttocks: The Queer Intimacies of Chinua Achebe.” Research in African Literatures vol. 47, no. 2, 2016, pp. 162–185. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.47.2.10.
Phillip, M. Nourbese. Zong! The Mercury Press, 2008.
Puar, Jasbir. The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability. Duke UP, 2017.
Scott, David. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Duke UP, 2004.
Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Duke UP, 2016.
Sibanda, Silindiwe. “Ways of Reading Blackness: Exploring Stereotyped Constructions of Blackness in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.” JLS TLW vol. 34, no. 3, 2018, pp. 74–89. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02564718.2018.1507155.
Vambe, Maurice Taonezvi, ed. Hidden Dimensions of Operation Murambatsvina. Weaver Press, 2008.
Wynter, Sylvia. “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues.” Forum N. H. I.: Knowledge for the 21st Century vol. 1, no. 1, 1994, pp. 42–73.
Yuval-Davis, Nira, Wemyss, Georgie and Kathryn Cassidy. “Everyday Bordering, Belonging and the Reorientation of British Immigration Legislation.” Sociology vol. 52, no. 2, 2018, pp. 228–224. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038517702599.
Copyright (c) 2019 Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.