Jason Frydman deposited Scheherezade in Chains: Arab-Islamic Genealogies of African Diasporic Literature in the group CLCS Global Anglophone on MLA Commons 3 years, 11 months ago
Drawing on Arabic textual traditions and foregrounding the liminal time and space of administrative detention, of the expired visa, of deportation, and of repatriation, Muslim slave narratives deserve recognition as generative forebears of transnational, multicultural literature in both England and the United States. Yet these forebears were consistently marked in their own time and subsequently by an aggressively racist dialectic of amnesia and surprise. We can detect in their enduring oscillation between obscurity and legibility, and in our own efforts to assemble the dispersed traces these Global South Atlantic forebears left behind in Brazilian, Canadian, English, Jamaican, Panamanian, Trinidadian, and US newspapers, letters, ledgers, and legal documents, a strategic archival reticence that vexes even as it structures the archive of the Global South Atlantic. The transoceanic subjects who deposited their traces in this archive rendered tangible, against multiple forces of erasure, shared networks of language, trade, education, religion, and discursive self-fashioning; and they also defiantly withdrew, at long last, into an opacity that delimits our own archival task.