Monday, June 18, 2012
White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery
By Vincent L. Wimbush
(Oxford University Press)
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, first published in England in 1789, was one of the earliest and remains to this day one of the best-known English language slave narratives. Characterizing Olaudah Equiano's eighteenth-century narrative of his life as a type of “scriptural story” that connects the Bible with identity formation, Wimbush's White Men’s Magic probes not only how the Bible and its reading played a crucial role in the first colonial contacts between black and white persons in the North Atlantic, but also the process and meaning of what he terms “scripturalization.” By this term, Wimbush means “a socialpsychological-political discursive structure” or “semiosphere” that creates a reality and organizes a society in terms of relations and communications.