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Excluded WithinThe (Un)Intelligibility of Radical Political Actors$
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Sina Kramer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190625986

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190625986.001.0001

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Critical Models: Antigone, Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin

Critical Models: Antigone, Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin

(p.131) 6 Critical Models: Antigone, Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin
Excluded Within

Sina Kramer

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 treats the figures of Antigone, Rosa Parks, and Claudette Colvin as models for the contestation of constitutive exclusion. First, Antigone’s constitutive exclusion from Thebes excludes her from the terms of intelligible political agency. When she challenges that exclusion, her contestation is politically unintelligible. While the radical alternative Antigone represents leads to her death in the play, that challenge survives in the multiple performances and adaptations of the play. Second, the choice to organize the Montgomery bus boycott around Parks rather than Colvin reveals the multiplicity of constitutive exclusion, since Parks could play some axes of her identity off others in her contestation in ways Colvin could not. The effect of this choice reinscribes the political unintelligibility of Colvin and reifies Parks as apolitical. While the terms of political agency are defined through the exclusion of Colvin, the radical potential she represents remains buried within those terms.

Keywords:   Antigone, Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, strategic straightness, respectability, marginalization, contestation, Butler

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