• Drawing on Arabic textual traditions and foregrounding a liminal time and space constituted
    by the experience of administrative detention, of the expired visa, of
    deportation, and of repatriation, Muslim slave narratives deserve recognitions as generative
    forebears of transnational, multicultural literature in both England
    and the United States. Yet these forebears
    consistently were marked in their own time and subsequently by an aggressively
    racist dialectic of amnesia and surprise. We can detect in their enduring
    oscillation between obscurity and legibility, and in our own efforts to
    assemble the dispersed traces these Global South Atlantic forebears left
    behind in Brazilian, Canadian, English, Jamaican, Panamanian, Trinidadian,
    and US newspapers, letters, ledgers, and legal documents, a strategic
    archival reticence that vexes even as it structures the archive of the Global
    South Atlantic. The transoceanic subjects who deposited their traces in
    this archive rendered tangible, against multiple forces of erasure, shared
    networks of language, trade, education, religion, and discursive self-fashioning;
    and they also defiantly withdrew, at long last, into an opacity
    that delimits our own archival task.