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Salvage WorkU.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris of Legal Personhood$
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Angela Naimou

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264766

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264766.001.0001

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The Ends of Legal Personhood

The Ends of Legal Personhood

(p.205) Epilogue: The Ends of Legal Personhood
Salvage Work

Angela Naimou

Fordham University Press

Drawing from John Edgar Wideman’s Fanon, the epilogue reflects on how contemporary literature and art perform the work of salvaging the person from its legal histories. It examines the unlawful enemy combatant as stateless person in the post-2001 war on terror along with two political movements that share little except the belief that legal personhood ensures legal protection—the Nonhuman Rights Project, which supports legal personhood for nonhuman animals, and the anti-abortion Personhood USA, which aims to make human fetuses and fertilized eggs legal persons. The epilogue examines the rhetoric of democratic citizenship, slavery, and abolition central to these arguments for expanding personhood. It considers the aftereffects of legal racial slavery in black life and across categories of race, labor, empire, and nation, even as the legal abolition of racial slavery becomes a pervasive metaphor for moral victory and the master precedent for extending the boundaries of legal personhood.

Keywords:   John Edgar Wideman, war on terrorism, enemy combatant, animal rights movement, fetal personhood movement, abortion, citizenship, slavery, abolition

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