Author Archives: Yogita Goyal

About Yogita Goyal

Yogita Goyal is Professor of African American Studies and English at UCLA and editor of the journal, Contemporary Literature. Her most recent book, Runaway Genres: The Global Afterlives of Slavery (NYU 2019), tracks the emergence of slavery as the defining template through which current forms of human rights abuses are understood, creating a new map of contemporary Black diaspora literature. She served as President of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (A.S.A.P.) in 2019.

Remembering Slavery, Remaking Race

This essay is part of a symposium on Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. The core question animating my explorations in Runaway Genres was the relation between slavery and freedom across past and present landscapes. The project started with noting the resurgence and proliferation of neo-slave narratives by African American writers in the last four decades; it moved on to track how the slave narrative’s peculiar features repeat today in narratives of capture and violence from the Global Continue reading →

The Logic of Analogy: Slavery and the Contemporary Refugee

In literary studies, questions of race, power, and terror raised by the mention of the Zong atrocity have long been familiar. While the facts of the case are well known—in 1781, a captain of a British slave ship chose to throw 133 slaves overboard so that he could claim them as insurance losses—the afterlife of Zong far exceeds its eighteenth-century abolitionist frame of moral outrage, legal maneuver, and humanitarian activism. Following in and amplifying J. M. W. Turner’s footsteps (whose 1840 painting Slave Ship galvanized Continue reading → Continue reading →