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The Politics of Richard WrightPerspectives on Resistance$
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Jane Anna Gordon and Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175164

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 21 August 2019

Reading Richard Wright beyond the Carceral State

Reading Richard Wright beyond the Carceral State

The Politics of Refusal in Black Radical Imagination

Chapter:
(p.310) 19 Reading Richard Wright beyond the Carceral State
Source:
The Politics of Richard Wright
Author(s):

Laura Grattan

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.003.0020

This chapter by Laura Grattan offers an alternative to critics and admirers who equate Wright’s resistance to white supremacy and capitalism with either ressentiment or violence. Drawing on Native Son,Black Boy, and 12 Million Black Voices, the essay argues that Wright constructs a multifaceted politics of refusal that puts the regeneration of the body and its aesthetic senses at the center of struggles to create “new and strange way[s] of life.” Individual and collective transformation entails repertories of refusal that lessen attunement to an antiblack social order and that make possible generative practices necessary for freedom. The essay concludes by evaluating the creative potential of refusal in movements to abolish policing and prisons.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, refusal, imagination, social death, carceral state, Ta-Nehisi Coates

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