by Jerry Rafiki Jenkins
The Ohio State University Press, 2024
eISBN: 978-0-8142-8341-7 | Cloth: 978-0-8142-1536-4 | Paper: 978-0-8142-5905-4
Library of Congress Classification PS374.B635J46 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.609896073

In Anti-Blackness and Human Monstrosity in Black American Horror Fiction, Jerry Rafiki Jenkins examines four types of human monsters that frequently appear in Black American horror fiction—the monsters of White rage, respectability, not-ness, and serial killing. Arguing that such monsters represent specific ideologies of American anti-Blackness, Jenkins shows that despite their various motivations for harming and killing Black people, these monsters embody the horrors that emerge when Black American is disassociated from American. Although these monsters of anti-Blackness are dangerous because they can terrorize Black people with virtual impunity, their “anti-Black sadism,” as Jenkins calls it, is what makes them repulsive. Jenkins examines a variety of these monstrous forms in Tananarive Due’s The Between, Victor LaValle’s The Changeling, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, and many other works. While these monsters and the texts that they populate ask us to think about the role that anti-Blackness plays in being or becoming American, they also offer intellectual resources that Black and non-Black people might use to combat the everyday versions of human monstrosity.