Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Future Uncanny Histories
By Briana Whiteside
In the future, the Black Studies Program will consider running exhibits on the uncanny. In the past, the uncanny has been used to describe a feeling of familiarity with something that is unfamiliar. However, we might begin thinking about what the uncanny means in association with black women and African American communities.
The term uncanny allows us to think more critically about black women characters that seem strange—such as Pilate from Song of Solomon, Mary from Mind of My Mind, and Ti-Jeanne from Brown Girl in the Ring—and what their extra-ordinary presence signals for other black women and characters in narratives. We learn from these mysterious figures that women are not only expected to survive, but some are designed to outmaneuver, out live, and overpower the men in their lives.
By focusing on the uncanny in the future, we are able to concentrate on the creativity of authors constructing abnormal characters.
• Future Histories project
Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Black Studies Program.