Campus-wide read featuring Christina Sharpe’s “In the Wake”

Salve Regina’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is inviting members of the University community to participate in its annual campus-wide read and book discussion, featuring Atwood lecturer Christina Sharpe’s second book, “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.”

The discussion will be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the McKillop Library. Copies of the book are available in the library for those interested in participating.

Published in 2016, “In the Wake” interrogates literary, visual, cinematic and quotidian representations of black life that comprise what Sharpe 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.

Sharpe┬áis a professor at Tufts University in the Department of English and the programs in Africana and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Her first book, “Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects,” was published in 2010. Sharpe’s research interests include black visual studies, mid-19th century to contemporary African-American literature and culture, black queer studies and black diaspora studies.

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