Daily Archives: February 9, 2011

Interpellation (HUM470)

We didn’t have a chance to apply Belsey to Douglass, but there will be one last opportunity to do so on Friday. My interest is to look at Frederick as a case of “failure to interpellate”— as someone who refused to acknowledge “the hail” of ideology. That interest stems from the belief– in line with Angela Davis’s lectures– that Douglass’s Narrative offers us a useable past, a means with which to examine our own subject-formation. Surely there were enslaved people who identified completely with the roles they had been assigned under chattel slavery. Malcolm X certainly thought so, and he used that phenomenon to criticize African Americans who were not willing to explicitly, immediately, passionately abolish white supremacy. Consider these (heavily edited) remarks:

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