What emerges is not a filled subject, but an anonymous (nameless) voice issuing from the black (w)hole. ( Baker, Blues)
Once upon a time Karl Marx and Stephen Dedalus wanted to wake up from the nightmare which was history. But in African American literature the subject of history is often pursued as an object of desire, even though the history of the African American people is a long tortuous tale of systematic brutalization, reification, and enslavement. This subject radiates the strength and capability of a people who have survived unspeakable and often untold horrors. It also expresses a desire for difference and authenticity. The subject in African American literature has become a highly visible space where this struggle for difference and authenticity is taking place. This arena makes writing and studying the subject a complex task because when the authentic voice gets rooted in history it tends to take on flesh; it needs a body and, once it has a body, it becomes human, it becomes Being in Time. This pursuit of body and being must be viewed in the context of the American slave-system which effectively denied both. Yet, once the subject attracts body and being, it easily becomes not the unreal thing--writing--but the real thing: a victim of referentiality. This I think is the main reason why writing the subject of history appears to temporarily slow down or even close down the poststructural slide. While the interest in the minority subject expresses a desire for difference, it simultaneously shows that this is also a desire for its opposite, a desire for identification, identity, a desire to belong, and to cancel out the difference within a group or a community.
Writing the subject also serves as a help to memory. The more this information age bombards us with data, facts, and computerized number