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The Implications of “Chosenness”: Unsettling the Exodus Narrative as a Model for Black Liberation in Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits

The Implications of “Chosenness”: Unsettling the Exodus Narrative as a Model for Black Liberation... : Unsettling the Exodus Narrative as a Model for Black Liberation in Randall Kenan's A Visitation of Spirits By Lucy R. Littler In Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early NineteenthCentury Black America, Eddie S. Glaude outlines the historical importance of churches within black communities, which provided havens from the pervasive racism of American society and fostered the kind of black agency needed for the articulation of black subjectivity. According to Glaude, black churches served pre-civil rights era black communities by syncretizing religious and political goals, uniting individuals in their civil rights struggle through the rhetoric of the biblical Exodus narrative. Though dominant social groups in North America and particularly in New England consistently employed Exodus rhetoric to define "Americanness" as early as the seventeenth century, disenfranchised populations such as African Americans during and after the era of chattel slavery have appropriated and revised this trope in order to problematize the American exceptionalist myth of what Donald E. Pease has called a "unified national monoculture" (111). Glaude traces the appropriation of the Exodus narrative in the "nation language" of African Americans in the nineteenth century struggling to articulate a communal identity that more accurately reflected the individual experiences http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

The Implications of “Chosenness”: Unsettling the Exodus Narrative as a Model for Black Liberation in Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 44 (1) – Feb 17, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English .
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
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Abstract

: Unsettling the Exodus Narrative as a Model for Black Liberation in Randall Kenan's A Visitation of Spirits By Lucy R. Littler In Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early NineteenthCentury Black America, Eddie S. Glaude outlines the historical importance of churches within black communities, which provided havens from the pervasive racism of American society and fostered the kind of black agency needed for the articulation of black subjectivity. According to Glaude, black churches served pre-civil rights era black communities by syncretizing religious and political goals, uniting individuals in their civil rights struggle through the rhetoric of the biblical Exodus narrative. Though dominant social groups in North America and particularly in New England consistently employed Exodus rhetoric to define "Americanness" as early as the seventeenth century, disenfranchised populations such as African Americans during and after the era of chattel slavery have appropriated and revised this trope in order to problematize the American exceptionalist myth of what Donald E. Pease has called a "unified national monoculture" (111). Glaude traces the appropriation of the Exodus narrative in the "nation language" of African Americans in the nineteenth century struggling to articulate a communal identity that more accurately reflected the individual experiences

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 17, 2011

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