Graduate Student Brown Bag

WGS Graduate Student Brown Bag
Spring 2012
Conklin Rm 246 
2:30p (Free Period)

Janessa Daniels, PhD Student in the American Studies program, will be presenting a talk on "The Sonic Rememory of Sampling and Black Women's Eroticism/Eroticization."



As defined by Morrison, rememory is a visceral process of remembering that which exists outside the normative linear temporal plane and therefore makes such time difficult to “believe in”. Rememory is more than “a thought picture”, it is the act of remembering some violent person, thing, episode, or place and how that act psychologically and physiologically changes the person in the throes of said rememory.  With the addition of sound, rememory acquires a much more haunting presence through the idea of mechanical acoustic waves that oscillate constantly in various environments to be reheard to remind the listener of some violence.  Sonic rememory, the process of sound existing outside of normative linear time and traveling along a queer temporality to be heard by those in the past, present, and future grants a new dimension to sampling in hip hop and r&b.  What does it mean for a sound to do violence to a person, or to instantly transport a person to a time and place when some violence was done to her?  Does sonic rememory have the power to transform violent rememories or rekey certain sounds, and if so, what form does this transformation take?  This paper argues that such transformation may be found in the rememory of sampling, the reverberation of aural imagery to recall and remix violence into some thing else.  The sonic rememory of moaning may be used to link the painful sounds of forced sex during slavery to the erotic sounds of consensual sex in freedom and elucidate a site of power for contemporary Black women artists and bring further depth to the sexual pain of slavery.  From the cries of Frederick Douglass' aunt to Mahalia Jackson's calls to the divine, Donna Summer's breathy sighs and Beyonce's adaptation of them, the sonic rememory of Black women's moans may be used to sonically and historically map spaces of power and violence in relation to Black women in and out of freedom.  This tracing of a history of sound through sexual dimensions provides a new lens with which kinky sex, Black women, and American slavery may be brought together to further highlight their intimate connections.