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Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America by Saidiya Hartman
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Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America by Saidiya Hartman


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The groundbreaking debut by the award-winning author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, revised and updated.

Saidiya Hartman has been praised as “one of our most brilliant contemporary thinkers” (Claudia Rankine, New York Times Book Review) and “a lodestar for a generation of students and, increasingly, for politically engaged people outside the academy” (Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker). In Scenes of Subjection—Hartman’s first book, now revised and expanded, with a new foreword, afterword, and illustrations—her singular talents and analytical framework are turned toward the “terrible spectacle” of slavery, illuminating the intertwining of violence, subjugation, and selfhood even in abolitionist depictions of enslavement. Through unmasking the hidden and overlooked at the margins of the historical archive, Hartman radically reshapes our understanding of history, in a work as resonant today as it was on first publication, now for a new generation of readers.