Thinking Through CrisisDepression-Era Black Literature, Theory, and Politics

Thinking Through CrisisDepression-Era Black Literature, Theory, and Politics

James Edward Ford

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780823286904

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

Thinking through Crisis turns to 1930s African American literature to offer a critical response to Trauma Theory. This theoretical discourse carries a nostalgia for “European Man” that limits its understanding of racial and class antagonisms. Consequently, its version of “bearing witness” yields a political passivity that cannot address the injustices of racism as they are linked to class conflict. Against the political passivity produced by this idealist approach, this book offers a materialist theory of trauma that develops concepts for identifying the agency that Black life produces amid social breakdown.