I think I’ve figured out one explanation of this “bodies” thing while puzzling over this bit of Pinn’s essay:
This old system worked based on the logic that black bodies were dangerous bodies and how they occupied space had to be watched closely. In a word, the system of slavery – the Atlantic slave trade – required a particular understanding of black bodies that continues to inform social interactions in the twenty-first century.
I was picking it apart and then suddenly I realized what he was getting at. There is one context in which this talk of bodies and how they occupy space really is exactly what is meant and exactly right.
Of course. Duh.
All right; that helps to make sense of the term. It would rather haunt the imagination.