'Black Magic' and Diasporic Imagination

Kirsten Raupach

Abstract


Within a colonial framework black diasporan thinking became most evident in the slaves' religious practices. Diasporic Imagination was displayed in terms of rituals of remembrance, social bonding across racial diversity, worship of African Gods, and imagined return to the homeland. These diasporic elements in African-Carribean slave religion, however, challenged white authority and conceptions of white superiority. A closer look at British colonial discourse of the late 18th century illustrates the colonialist's obsession with the slaves' display of their Africaness in religious ceremonies and the struggle to come to terms with the unsettling implications of slave magic. Moreover, these literary productions reflect white anxieties as to the stability of the imperial situation and reveal the white man's growing awareness regarding the limitations of imperial power.

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