SIX FEET UNDER, ABOVE, BEYOND

SIX FEET UNDER, ABOVE, BEYOND 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 Peterson’s answer is simple and striking: all of these figures produce “kindred specters,” presences that — by challenging notions of mortality and immortality, body and spirit, life and death — trouble “conventional” American conceptions of kinship (16). Reading Charles W. Chesnutt’s Conjure Woman, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and William Faulkner’s 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 Ball’s HBO series Six Feet Under (in which the image of a “family tree” 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Duke University Press

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2009 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1064-2684
eISSN
1064-2684
D.O.I.
10.1215/10642684-2008-024
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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 Peterson’s answer is simple and striking: all of these figures produce “kindred specters,” presences that — by challenging notions of mortality and immortality, body and spirit, life and death — trouble “conventional” American conceptions of kinship (16). Reading Charles W. Chesnutt’s Conjure Woman, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and William Faulkner’s 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 Ball’s HBO series Six Feet Under (in which the image of a “family tree” 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

Journal

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2009

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