Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South: Women, Specularity, and the Poetics of Subjectivity

In Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South: Women, Specularity, and the Poetics of Subjectivity, I interpret the role of the witness figure in the photography of Carrie Mae Weems and the fiction of Toni Morrison, Dorothy Allison, and Flannery O’Connor. In this book, I pressure the question of how the feminine witness of violence functions as a motif of representation, both her ethical and aesthetic force. In particular, I am concerned with illuminating blind-spots of feminism, the ways that women interact through violence, not as unilateral victims but also as observers and recorders of violence. Working with Weems’s gorgeous photographs has been a tremendous inspiration.

” This study on witnessing sadistic bodily harm against women …moves trauma studies in a fresh analytical direction that highlights the impact of trauma and its legacy in a profound and provocative manner. Raymond’s text is a fascinating and welcome addition to the field” Debra Walker King, University of Florida

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