Subjective Violence and Objective Violence: Revolt as Emancipation of Others in LeRoi Jones’ The Slave

Document Type : Original Article


1 Ph.D. Students of English Literature, Department of Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of English Literature, Borujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd, Iran (Corresponding Writer)



This article postulates the concepts of subjective violence and objective violence in constructing the revolutionary others in The Slave (1964), the ideological play by Amiri Baraka (1934-2004), also known as LeRoi Jones. The blacks are identified as the others in the white dominant societies, and the inconvenience of their livings under no effective ‘Civil Rights’ has faded their legitimated targets. They have detached themselves from their origins and experienced numerous troubles in the dominant imperialist world. Jones’ The Slave focuses on the revolt of a black man against the whites’ subjective and objective violence. The paper has centralized Jones’ concepts of black art and identity related to American ‘Social Movements’. Baraka’s The Slave revolutionarily fights back the whites’ violence. To develop the purpose of this study, Žižek’s concept of violence and his psycho-ideological impacts through the lens of Lacan are to be analyzed. The Slave indicates the centrality of a black massive movement toward the achievement of self-rule, self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-realization. LeRoi Jones, as the leader of the ‘Black Arts Movement’ and founder of ‘Black Power’ of the 1960s, attempts to re-define and support blacks’ literature, art, and culture as the operational mission.


Ashcroft, Bill, et al. Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London and New York: Rutledge, 1998.
Corte, Ugo. “Subcultures and Small Group: A Social Movement Theory Approach.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Uppsala University, 2012.
Hosseini, Sajed and Erfan Rajabi. “Subjectivity Construction through Familial Discourse Represented in Film: A Case Study of Alyosha’s Identity in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless.” Critical Literary Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2019, pp. 73-97. DOI: 10.34785/J014.2019.168
Jones, LeRoi. Dutchman and The Slave: Two Plays. New York: William Morrow, 1964.
---. Home: Social Essays. New York: William Morrow, 1966.
Kern, Douglas S. “The Name of Struggle: Amiri Baraka’s Revolutionary Theatre.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of York, 2014.
Khoshkalam Pour, Mehdi and Mohammad Rostam Pour. “From Hegelian Ethical Substance to Lacanian Impossible Thing: An Ethical-Psychoanalytic Study of Sophocles’ Antigone.”  Critical Literary Studies, Vol. II, No. 1, 2020, pp. 5-37. DOI: 10.34785/J014.2020.257
Olaniyan, Tejumola. Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African-American and Caribbean Drama. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995.
Sadjadi, Seyed Bakhtiar. Investigating the Subject's Identity: The Critical Treatment of the Lacanian-Althusserian Dialectic and Subjectivity Formation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ph.D. Dissertation, Exeter University, 2010.
Shelby, Tommie. “Ideology, Racism, and Critical Social Theory.” Philosophical Forum, Vol. 45, No. 2, 2003, pp. 153-188.
Smith, David L. “Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts of Black Art”. Boundary 2. Duke University Press, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1986, pp. 235-254.
Watts, Jerry Gafio. Amiri Baraka: The Politics and Art of a Black Intellectual. New York: New York University Press, 2001.
Won-Gu Kim, Daniel. “In the Tradition: Amiri Baraka, Black Liberation, and Avant-Garde Praxis in the U.S.” African American Review, Vol. 37, No. 2/3, 2003, pp. 345-363.
Slavoj, Žižek. Enjoy Your Symptom: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge, 1992.
---. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge: MIT, 2000.
---. The Fragile Absolute or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting for? London and New York: Verso,2000.
---. The Sublime Object of Ideology.London and New York: Verso, 1989.
---. Violence. New York: Picador, 2008.