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The “us versus them” narrative still pre-dominates the analysis of terrorism in the West, which invariably associates “them” with terrorism. Toni Morrison’s hauntingly memorable novel – Beloved – provides a radically different and historically grounded view of terror and terrorism in the West. The novel not only releases us from the “us versus them” paradigm by demonstrating America’s intimacy with terror, it also enables us to examine terror and terrorism from the perspective of a gendered and ethnic subject who subverts the easy categorization of “us” and “them” or civilized and terrorist. Following Jacques Derrida’s contemplations on death and terror, I contend that Morrison’s novel foregrounds autoimmunity, the gift of death and hospitality as key components in the experience of terror for a subject of colonialism and slavery.


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