Plantation Memories, Episodes of Everyday Racism, Münster, Unrast Verlag (2008)
by Grada Kilomba
Released at the International Literature Festival, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, by the end of 2008, soon the book became internationally acclaimed, having some of its parts translated into several languages and being published in numerous international book anthologies, magazines, and journals.
In her book, Grada Kilomba combines both academic writing and lyrical narrative creating a strong new literary style, which is as political and political (scholastic) as it is poetic and emotionally expressive. The book is based on a compilation of episodes of everyday racism written in the form of short psychoanalytical stories.
“‘Plantation Memories’ is a fervent, strong, and elaborated piece, which deconstructs the normality of racism, making visible what is often made invisible. From the question “Where do you come from?” to “How do you wash your hair?”, to the use of the N-word, the author exposes the violence of always being placed as the Other. The book is essential to anyone interested in Black studies, Post-colonial studies, Critical Whiteness, Gender studies and Psychoanalysis.” (Unrast Verlag)
A significant number of academic thesis and artistic projects have been using the book as a main tool to explore racism, identity, and transformation. In September 2013, the book was for the first time adapted and presented by the author as a staged reading, at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, in Berlin.
Grada Kilomba was born in Lisbon where she studied clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. There she worked in the psychiatry with war survivors and developed several projects in the fields of memory and trauma. Early on she started publishing her literary work in the form of essays, prose and poetry approaching remembered stories of slavery, colonialism and everyday racism. Among others, she is the co-editor of the book “Mythen, Masken and Subjekte: Kritische Weißseinforschung in Deutschland” (Unrast 2005) and the author of the book “Plantation Memories: Episodes of Everyday Racism”(Unrast 2008). Her work has been described as a combination of academic writing and lyrical narrative. She has been working on several theatre projects. She holds a distinguished doctorate from Freie Universität and has been lecturing in the frame of postcolonial studies on decolonization, psychoanalysis and gender at the Humboldt Universität – Berlin, department of gender studies; Freie Universität – Berlin, department of political sciences; and at the University of Ghana, Legon/Accra, department of African studies and Performing Arts.