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Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity$
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Lindon Barrett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038006

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038006.001.0001

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Making the Flesh Word

Making the Flesh Word

Binomial Being and Representational Presence

(p.44) Chapter 2 Making the Flesh Word
Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity

Lindon Barrett

, Justin A. Joyce, Dwight A. Mcbride, John Carlos Rowe
University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa (1745?–1801), the African captured by slave traders in the Niger River region when he was ten years old, taken to the U.S. South, sold to a West Indian planter, who then worked aboard slave ships sailing between the Caribbean and England until he was nineteen. Buying his freedom, he continued his life as a merchant seaman and quartermaster for many years, working vigorously for the abolition of slavery, marrying an English woman, and serving as Commissary of Stores for freed slaves returning to Sierra Leone. The chapter demonstrates how Equiano/Vassa's “binomial being” elaborates the social and psychological consequences of the Euro-American political economy of modernity outlined in the first chapter.

Keywords:   Olaudah Equiano, Gustavus Vassa, autobiography, binomial being, slavery, Euro-American modernity

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