From ships and novels to Mardi Gras, water, and television, how does the legacy of the Middle Passage, the leg of the Atlantic through which African people were trafficked as slaves, reverberate through the creations of writers and authors of the African diaspora? In this episode of New Books Network, Dr. Lee M. Pierce interviews Dr. Tara G. Green about her latest book on the Middle Passage, rebirth, trauma, water, social death, and resistance.
In Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song (Ohio State UP, 2018), Tara T. Green turns to twentieth- and recent twenty-first-century representations of the Middle Passage created by African-descended artists and writers. Examining how these writers and performers revised and reimagined the Middle Passage in their work, Green argues that they recognized it as a historical and geographical site of trauma as well as a symbol for a place of understanding and change. Their work represents the legacy African captives left for resisting “social death” (the idea that Black life does not matter), but it also highlights strong resistance to that social death (the idea that it does matter).
Dr. Tara T. Green is Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at UNC Greensboro where she is also the Linda Arnold Carlisle Excellence Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies.
Dr. Lee M. Pierce is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at SUNY Geneseo and host of the RhetoricLee Speaking podcast. Connect on Gmail and social media @rhetoriclee.