February 10, 2016

Quéma on M. Nourbese Philip's Zong! and Gregson v. Gilbert

Anne Quéma, Acadia University, has published M. Nourbese Philip's Zong!: Metaphors, Laws, and Fugues of Justice at 43 Journal of Law and Society 85 (2016). Here is the abstract.
Focusing on Gregson v. Gilbert, the article considers colonialism as a historical chain of events with the Middle Passage as a major locus of association among humans, things, the sea, trade, transportation, maritime law, and finance speculation. Out of this assemblage emerged slavery as a racist socius through which the metaphor of the human‐thing circulated. In citing Gregson v. Gilbert, M.N. Philip's poem Zong! seeks to bear responsibility to the reified bodies of the murdered Africans by generating a poetics of relationality that disassembles and reassembles the legal words as sign‐objects on the page. Her gendered address to the law exposes the rape that Africa endured. Bearing witness to this trauma, her poem speaks to and with the dead, recognizing the singularity of the Africans' languages, of which as human‐things they were deprived. Gathering readers and listeners, the poem creates an event through which an ethics of justice might materialize.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

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