Chapter 18 Vulnerability: Refusal

This chapter considers the possibilities and limitations of working ethically with colonial archives.

Activities 

Activity: Listen to M. NourbeSe Philip read excerpts from her work, Zong! Thinking about words, rhythm, sound, texture, space, silence, and speech, eflect on Philip’s practices of refusal and how they disrupt the logic of the colonial text. Plan a collective reading of the poems.

Activity: Identify archival collections in your area (community-based, historical society, university-based). Browse through the finding aids (seek the help of an archivist, if necessary). What does the structure of the archival materials tell you? Choose a particularly rich collection, perhaps one with letters and/or photographs. Reflect on the processes that brought these  materials together for your perusal. Reflect, too, on the materials that aren’t included in the archive’s collections, and why that might be. Finally, free write for ten minutes on the following prompt: what are my ethical responsibilities – as researcher and reader – the material I have encountered?

Images

paramaribo
Taxi boats, waterfront, Paramaribo, Suriname. Photo credit: Sonja Boon
commewijne
Boats, Commewijne River to former plantation regions, Suriname. Photo credit: Sonja Boon
Frederiksdorp
Frederiksdorp plantation, Suriname. Photo credit: Sonja Boon

Readings

Brand, Dionne. 2001. A map to the Door of No Return: Notes to belonging. Toronto: Vintage Canada.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2014. Writing as a nomadic subject. Comparative Critical Studies 11.2-3: 163-84. doi: 10.3366/ccs.2014.0122.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2011. Nomadic subjects: Embodiment and sexual difference in contemporary feminist theory. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Butler, Judith. 2004. Undoing gender. New York and London: Routledge

de Vries, Maggie. 2004. Missing Sarah: A memoir of loss. Toronto: Penguin Canada.

Eades, Quinn. 2015. All the beginnings: A queer autobiography of the body. North Melbourne: Tantanoola.

Haraway, Donna J. 1994. A game of cat’s cradle: Science studies, feminist theory, cultural studies. Configurations 2.1: 59-71. doi: 10.1353/con.1994.0009.

Hartman, Saidiya. 2008. Venus in two acts. Small Axe 12.2: 1-14. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2979/SAX.2008.-.26.1

hooks, bell. 1992. Eating the other: Desire and resistance. In Black looks: Race and representation, 21–39. Boston: South End Press.

Janzen, Olaf U. 2008. The ‘long’ eighteenth century, 1697-1815. In A short history of Newfoundland and Labrador, ed. Newfoundland Historical Society, 49-76. St. John’s: Newfoundland Historical Society.

McKittrick, Katherine. 2014. Mathematics Black life. The Black Scholar 44.2: 16-28. doi: 10.1080/00064246.2014.11413684.

Philip, M. NourbeSe. 2011. Zong! Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Probyn, Elspeth. 2001. Eating skin. In Thinking through the skin, eds. Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey, 87-103. London and New York: Routledge.

Snooks, Gina and Sonja Boon. 2017. Salt fish and molasses: Unsettling the palate in the spaces between two continents. European Journal of Life Writing 6: 218-41. doi: 10.4362/ejlw.6.213.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. 2014a. R-words: Refusing research. In Humanizing research: Decolonizing qualitative inquiry with youth and communities, eds, D. Paris and M. T. Winn, 223-47. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. 2014b. Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research.” Qualitative Inquiry 20.6: 811-18. doi: 10.1177/1077800414530265.

 

(c) Sonja Boon, Lesley Butler, and Daze Jefferies, 2018.