Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article foregrounds the link between slavery and sexuality explored by Hortense Spillers - what she calls pornotroping - which exposes some of the limitations of Giorgio Agamben's 'homo sacer' (sacred man) figure by calling attention to how political violence frequently produces forces that exceed it. This is followed by an analysis of the film Sankofa , ostensibly an uplifting narrative about the horrors of slavery, which nevertheless cannot help but eroticize the brutality that the filmmaker seeks to denounce, and which demonstrates the visual logic of pornotroping. Finally, Agamben's notion of potentiality leads to a discussion of freedom in pornotroping, one that might lead to novel instantiations of humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Visual Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Cinema
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • Hortense spillers
  • Sexuality
  • Slavery
  • The holocaust
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


Dive into the research topics of 'Pornotropes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this