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American ObscurantismHistory and the Visual in U.S. Literature and Film$
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Peter Lurie

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199797318.001.0001

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“Rememory,” the Visual, and America’s Future History: Race and the Digital Turn

(p.153) Conclusion
American Obscurantism

Peter Lurie

Oxford University Press

This book concludes by relating its discussion of visualizing history to the media and the public response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It shows their overly mediated depiction to have a precedent in Civil War photography, and it avers the shared impulse to visualize attending each of these epochal historical events. The Conclusion reads Toni Morrison’s Beloved as offering a salutary “forgetful remembrance” of history in the novel’s model of “rememory” and as an alternative to historicist criticism, as well as to U.S. culture’s visual archiving of a supposedly accessible and remediable past. The discussion also links Morrison’s work to post-9/11 poetry and to contemporary and recent African-American cinema, which, like Beloved, shows the occasion and the need for a willful look forward for both racialized subjects and for the U.S. polity generally in a postdigital age.

Keywords:   9/11, Civil War, photography, digital media, Beloved, Galway Kinnell, vision, Killer of Sheep, Philando Castile, African-American cinema

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