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Whiteness, Dissonance, Horror: Cognition and the Necro Imaginary of White Being (Sternberg Press / The Antipolitical)

Whiteness, Dissonance, Horror: Cognition and the Necro Imaginary of White Being (Sternberg Press / The Antipolitical)

Current price: $25.95
Publication Date: October 1st, 2024
Sternberg Press


On genocidal poetics and their impact on the suspension of cognitive recognition of race-based violence in Western horror films.

Authored by artist and Cassandra Press founder Kandis Williams, Whiteness, Dissonance, Horror: Cognition and the Necro-Imaginary of White Being delves into the connection between horror motifs, the white supremacist cultural imaginary, and the dissonance-building process that spectacularizes white racial colonial violence. As a scopic regime it offers a rationalization for the historical violence inflicted upon black, indigenous, and marginalized communities during the colonial expansion era.

Drawing on her research, which includes insights from her ongoing "Cassandra Classrooms" course titled "Whiteness, Dissonance, and Horror," Williams provides an analysis of Whiteness within the context of American horror films. She argues that the genre is intricately linked to the white supremacist cultural imaginary, using horror motifs as both a recognition and a means of coping with the profound implications of white individuals and communities in perpetuating racial colonialism, violence, genocide, and class warfare, all within the framework of the "necro-imaginary."

Within this framework, horror motifs and caricatures emerge as thinly veiled re-enactments of state-sanctioned violence against black, indigenous, and people of color. The normalization of social violence in contemporary society continues to haunt the political reality of the lives of many individuals from these communities.

This book offers an in-depth examination of the interplay between cognitive dissonance, the "necro-imaginary," and the complex dynamics of racial violence. It provides readers with a nuanced perspective on these critical issues, shedding light on the psychological mechanisms that have shaped historical narratives and continue to influence societal perceptions today.

About the Author

Kandis Williams is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and founder of Cassandra Press. Her diverse practice explores critical theory, race, nationalism, authority, and eroticism through collage, sculpture, video, performance, and writing. Her work has been collected by such institutions as the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, and the Hammer Museum, and is also featured in esteemed collections and publications, including the New York Times, Artforum, and GQ Style.

Tao Leigh Goffe is a London-born, Black British award-winning writer, theorist, and associate professor of literary history and cultural theory. Dr. Goffe is writing a book titled After Eden on how the climate crisis is a racial crisis.