'Black Magic' and Diasporic Imagination


  • Kirsten Raupach




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.

Author Biography

Kirsten Raupach

CVEducation  Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster: (1st Staatsexamen)1987 – 1995: English, German, Educational Studies (Sek II/I)Ph.D.-Project  "Am I Not a Woman and a Sister – Representations of New World Slavery by British Women Writers in the 18th and 19th Centuries" (Münster University)Conference Papers  "Challenging Literary Taboos: Harriet Martineau‘s Representation of Colonial Slavery in The Hour and the Man"CAAR-Conference, Liverpool, UK, 1997  "The Whiteness of the Pale: Constructions of Whiteness and Blackness in George Eliot‘s Short Story 'Brother Jacob'"Postgraduiertenforum, Marburg, 1997  "The Art of Darkness: Representations of the Obeah Woman in British Fiction"Karl Wilhelm Dietz Memorial Conference, Mainz, 1997  "Changing Representations of Black Resistance"Postgraduiertenforum, Regensburg 1999  British Abolitionist Writing During the Era of Revolution 1789-1807""Monuments of the Black Atlantic", Virginia, Mai 2000  "'Black Magic' and Diasporic Imagination""African American Diasporas: Consciousness and Imagination," Paris, Oktober 2000  "Rebellious Slaves and Unruly Women: Race and Gender in Britsh Women's Anti-Slavery Writing"Postgraduiertenforum, Mainz, November 2000  "Unveiling Racism: Weiße Frauen - schwarze Sklaven"Tag des Wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses, Münster, Dezember 2000  "Unveiling Whiteness: ,Race', Gender and Abolitionism"Crossroutes: The Meanings of Race for the 21st Century, Sardinien, März 2001  "With Indolence to Fierceness Joined" - Codes of Femininity in British Abolitionist Women WritingPostgraduiertenforum der DGfA, München, November 2001  "Women Lost to Shame": Der Wandel der britischen Weiblichkeitsideologie im revolutionären ZeitalterGender & Politik um 1800, München, September 2002
Publications  "Chained Voices: Britische Schriftstellerinnen und Sklaverei" Forschungsjounal der Universität Münster 2, Münster: FJ, 2000, 20-21.  "Women Writing Race: Constructions of Cultural Hierarchies in British Abolitionist Discourse" (forthcoming)  "The Art of Darkness: Representations of the Obeah Woman in British Fiction" (forthcoming)  "When We with Magic Rites the White Man's Doom Prepare": Representations of Black Resistance in British Abolitionist Writing During the Era of Revolution" (forthcoming)  "Women Lost to Shame": Der Wandel der britischen Weiblichkeitsideologie im revolutionären Zeitalter (forthcoming)Scholarships1992-1993 Tutor at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, USA1998-1999 Graduiertenförderung des Landes Nordrhein-WestfalenEmployment1994-1995 Teaching Assistant at the Department of Education, Münster University1995-1999 Research and Teaching Assistant American Studies Department, Münster University1999-2001 Referendariat (Teacher‘s Training) at the Studienseminar Münster (2nd Staatsexamen)2000 Teaching Position at Gymnasium Paulinum, Münster2001 Teaching Position at Comenius-Gymnasium DüsseldorfConference Organization/Session Chair  Organization of the Postgraduate Forum, Münster 1998  Assistance with the organization of the CAAR-conferences in Liverpool 1997 and Münster 1999.  Co-Chair, session: "Transatlantic Perspectives on Slavery", CAAR, Liverpool, 1997  Chair, sessions: "Ethnicity and Minority Literatures" and "Class, Gender, Identity", PGF, 1998  Chair, session: "The Ideology and Literature of Abolition", CAAR Münster, 1999  Chair, session: "The Sixties: A Decade that Polarized Generations", DGfA, 1999  Chair; sessions: "Slavery, Abolitionism and the Colorline" CAAR Sardinia, 2001


How to Cite

Raupach, Kirsten. “’Black Magic’ and Diasporic Imagination”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 3, Mar. 2012, doi:10.5283/copas.67.