Foucauldian Archaeology of Slavery in Morrison’s Beloved

By Sima Farshid.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At the Alps of her artistic creation in Beloved, Morrison imaginatively reconstructs the traumatic life of slaves who have been kept “voiceless” throughout American history on account of the dominance of Euro American discourse and media. To probe Beloved from a Foucauldian perspective seems to be very rewarding, because Morrison’s endeavor to unearth the history of slavery resembles Foucault’s enterprise for rewriting the history of the West. As Foucault considers the job of a historian to excavate a given epoch to expose the “other history, which runs beneath history”, Morrison makes efforts to uncover the “other history” of slavery that “runs beneath” the official records or slave narratives. As Foucault compares the attempt to unearth the “other history” to the work of an archaeologist – hence naming his new history a kind of “archaeology”, Morrison describes her “narrative strategy” as a “kind of literary archeology”. As its epigraph reads, Beloved is a tribute to “sixty Million and more” Africans who died on the slave ships or outlived the Middle Passage but underwent loads of dreadful things: their labor force was exploited, their bodies were manipulated and tortured, were callously lynched, and their voice was suppressed by the dominant discourse and hence remained unheard. Morrison has written Beloved to resist and subvert Euro American discourse that has concealed the horrible crimes of the atrocious institution of slavery.

Keywords: Unearthing History, Literary Archaeology, Other History of Slavery, Dominant Discourse, National Amnesia

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.303-310. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 611.212KB).

Dr. Sima Farshid

Director of Postgraduate Studies, English Department, Faculty of Literature, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Karaj, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

I hold a Ph D degree in English Literature and have taught English and American literature for more than 14 years at Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch. I have been the Head of English Department (undergraduate) for 4 years, and now direct the postgraduate studies in the same field of study at the same university.

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