master's thesis
Rewriting the Past in Postmodern Slave Narratives

Suzana Režić (2015)
Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
TitleRewriting the Past in Postmodern Slave Narratives
AuthorSuzana Režić
Mentor(s)Sanja Runtić (thesis advisor)
This paper traces the evolution of the postmodern slave narrative. It pays special attention to the emergence of this genre as a continuation of nineteenth-century slave narratives and a response to pro-slavery writing, which appropriated African American history to encourage prejudice, stereotyping, and cultural misrepresentation. Using William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967) as the paradigmatic text, which initiated a critical debate over its authenticity, as well as subsequent intertextual deconstructions of its historical bigotry, the paper juxtaposes Styron's text to two postmodern neo-slave narratives – Sherley Anne Williams' Dessa Rose (1986) and Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred (1979). Highlighting the correlation between the novels' postmodern narrative strategies and their attempt to engage in historical revisionism and convey the authentic reality of the slave experience, it argues that both Williams and Butler successfully de/re-construct and re-write/right the dominant narrative of African American history by depicting a black woman's first-hand experience of the past and inscribing the physical wounds of slavery into the present. Finally, it reviews the cinematic representation of slavery and racial stereotypes through several representative slavery films – D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), Victor Fleming's Gone with the Wind (1939), Haile Gerima's Sankofa (1993), Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012), and Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave (2013) – and classifies Gerima's and McQueen's films as representatives of a new trend of transferring slave narratives to the big screen.
Parallel title (Croatian)Preispisivanje povijesti u postmodernim pripovijestima o ropstvu
Committee MembersBiljana Oklopčić (committee member)
Ljubica Matek (committee member)
Sanja Runtić (committee member)
GranterJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Scientific field, discipline, subdisciplineHUMANISTIC SCIENCES
Study programme typeuniversity
Study levelgraduate
Study programmeHungarian Language and Literature; specializations in: Teacher Training,
Academic title abbreviationmag. philol. hung
Study programme typeuniversity
Study levelgraduate
Study programmeEnglish Language and Literature (double major); specializations in: Teacher Training, Translation and Interpreting Studies, Philology
Study specializationPhilology
Academic title abbreviationmag. philol. angl.
Genremaster's thesis
Language English
Defense date2015-09-28
Parallel keywords (Croatian)slave narrative postmodern slave narrative racial stereotypes cultural appropriation slavery historical revisionism master text.
Resource typetext
Access conditionOpen access
Terms of use
CommitterBernardica Plašćak