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Runaway GenresThe Global Afterlives of Slavery$
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Yogita Goyal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479829590

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479829590.001.0001

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Post-Black Satire

Post-Black Satire

(p.105) 3 Post-Black Satire
Runaway Genres

Yogita Goyal

NYU Press

This chapter collides the idiom of post-blackness with the dominant genre of the neo-slave narrative in contemporary African American literature. This distinct body of work—post-black neo-slave narratives—mines the historical scene of slavery in the mode of satire. Through absurd juxtapositions, surreal analogies, and farcical adventures, post-black satirists expose the contradictions of the insistence on the unending history of slavery amid declarations of a break from previous racial regimes. Viewing satire as the lens through which debates about race and postracialism articulate, the chapter explores how fictions by Paul Beatty and Mat Johnson combat the sentimental template of abolition and neo-abolition by refusing to collapse past and present. The chapter concludes with a look at what might be termed a post-black post-satire, as Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016) stretches time and space to transform the slave narrative into a flexible portal to practices of exploitation worldwide.

Keywords:   satire, blackness, post-blackness, absurd, Mat Johnson, Paul Beatty, Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad

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