On My Own: Table Talk, Sites of Citizenship & Citing the Self

I hear many messages in Salamisha Tillet’s book title–how slavery is connected to places, and how places are sites of memory. I think of how sometimes writers confuse the homonyms “sites” and “cites” and how both words matter in Tillet’s conversation about race and erasure. 

Professor Tillet locates her text in a crossfire of discourse about what she calls our “peculiar citizenship.”  Before we dig into Dr. Tillet’s big book, let’s consider what her words, “peculiar citizenship,” mean to us.  

What is citizenship?  Why is this word coming so powerfully into black women’s contemporary public discussions? Are we in especial need of it?  Melissa Harris-Perry titled her book, in part: “Sister Citizen.” The poet Claudia Rankine titled her new book “Citizen: An American Lyric.” 

[Lyric; of or pertaining to the lyre; characteristic of song. OED]

Is there a song that you know that tells us about citizenship?
Is there a place (a site) in your neighborhood that tells us something about slavery?


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