Specters of Democracy is undergirded by three principal lines of critical inquiry. Firstly, it correlates representation in art with representation in politics as a specific cultural juncture and as a particular concern of African American writers at this historical moment-something that I am calling the "aesthetics of nationalism." Secondly, it argues that politics can become strategically discursive, almost as a replacement of physicality itself; a phenomenon that is especially noticeable when one considers the enslaved black body. In the case of African America, especially post-Fugitive Slave Law when physical movement becomes even more restricted and tenuous, democratic discourse, ironically, becomes increasingly mobile and transcendent, seemingly separated from black bodies themselves, thereby creating a de-territorialized field of political engagement less bound to physical location. Thirdly, the book theorizes the disjunction between the aesthetic and the political as an important liminal space: the realm of the spectral.