GLQ: A JournAL oF LesBiAn And GAY sTudies Mecca Jamilah Sullivan Kindred Specters: Death, Mourning, and American Affinity Christopher Peterson Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. x + 188 pp. What do an infanticidal fugitive slave, a free black woman who turns would-be slave grooms into trees, and a pair of queerish white Harvard roommates obsessed with family history have in common? Christopher Petersonâs answer is simple and striking: all of these figures produce âkindred specters,â presences that â by challenging notions of mortality and immortality, body and spirit, life and death â trouble âconventionalâ American conceptions of kinship (16). Reading Charles W. Chesnuttâs Conjure Woman, Toni Morrisonâs Beloved, and William Faulknerâs Absalom, Absalom! Peterson critiques normative American conceptions of kinship, arguing that in attempting to deny mortality, they echo oppressive social structures that guarantee the life of the (dominant) self through the death of the (marginalized) other. Beginning with an illuminating analysis of the opening sequence of Alan Ballâs HBO series Six Feet Under (in which the image of a âfamily treeâ is connected both to the joined hands of presumed family members and to the hands of a mortician at work), Peterson argues that mourning is
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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