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- DescriptionIn Necro Citizenship Russ Castrovo argues that the meaning of citizenship in the United States during the nineteenth century was bound to-and even dependent on-death. Deploying an impressive range of literary and cultural texts, Castrovo interrogates an American public sphere that fetishized death as a crucial point of political identification. This morbid politics idealized disembodiment over embodiment, spiritual conditions over material ones, amnesia over history, and passivity over engagement. Moving from medical engravings, seances, and clairvoyant communication to Supreme Court decisions, popular literature, and physiological tracts, Necro Citizenship explores how rituals of inclusion and belonging have generated alienation and dispossession. Castrovo contends that citizenship does violence to bodies, especially those of blacks, women, and workers. Necro ideology, he argues, supplied citizens with the means to think about slavery, ecomic powerlessness, or social injustice as eternal questions, beyond the scope of politics or critique. By obsessing on sleepwalkers, drowned women, and other corpses, necro ideology fostered a collective demand for an abstract even antidemocratic sense of freedom. Examining issues involving the occult, white sexuality, ghosts, and suicide in conjunction with readings of Harriet Jacobs, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Frances Harper, Necro Citizenship successfully demonstrates why Patrick Henry's give me liberty or give me death has resonated so strongly in the American imagination.
- Author BiographyRuss Castronovo is Associate Professor of English and Director of the American Studies Program at the University of Miami. He is the author of Fathering the Nation: American Genealogies of Slavery and Freedom.
- Author(s)Russ Castronovo
- PublisherDuke University Press
- Date of Publication25/09/2001
- SubjectRegional History
- Series TitleNew Americanists
- Place of PublicationNorth Carolina
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintDuke University Press
- Content Note17 illustrations
- Weight617 g
- Width3971 mm
- Height5983 mm
- Spine27 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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