Testimonial Publics—#BlackLivesMatter and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen
The conclusion provides a discussion of embodied witness and its representation in protest, online, and in literary texts, and argues for the co-presence in testimonial networks of contemporary forms and figures of witness and judgment and the weight of submerged histories in search of an adequate witness. The conclusion also theorizes the prospects for bearing embodied by reading across a constellation of powerful contemporary examples that center Black women’s voices, embodiment, and protest in a range of forms and across different platforms, including #BlackLivesMatter; Sandra Bland’s protest captured on a police car dashboard camera; Bree Newsome’s act of civil disobedience when she took down the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds in Charleston, South Carolina; and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. It also argues that #BlackLivesMatter underscores the labor of turning histories of racial violence and the grief and lamentation to which they give rise into protest.
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