This essay revisits Sylvia Wynter’s 1971 essay “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation” in relation to a quandary: the history of provision grounds not only as a resource but also as an initiation into property relations during and after West Indian slavery. In this light, the plot becomes a space of instruction in how to become a free subject through exchange. The essay draws out the plot’s histories of dispossession, enclosure, and dispute. Ultimately, it offers another term, siphon, as the condition of the overlapping conjunctures of West Indian emancipation and the postcolonial.
Siphon, or What Was the Plot? Revisiting Sylvia Wynter’s “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation”
KANEESHA CHERELLE PARSARD is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She writes about the legacies of slavery and emancipation in the Caribbean and in the broader Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds, with an interest in how gender and sexuality structure race, labor, and capital. She is working on her first book project, titled An Illicit Wage. Her scholarship has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies and can be found in the journals American Quarterly, Small Axe, and the South Atlantic Quarterly.
Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard; Siphon, or What Was the Plot? Revisiting Sylvia Wynter’s “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation”. Representations 1 May 2023; 162 (1): 56–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2023.162.5.56
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