Black Women, Identity, and Cultural Theory: (Un)Becoming the Subject

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Overview

 In Black Women, Identity, and Cultural Theory, Kevin Everod Quashie explores the metaphor of the “girlfriend” as a new way of understanding three central concepts of cultural studies: self, memory, and language. He considers how the work of writers such as Toni Morrison, Ama Ata Aidoo, Dionne Brand, photographer Lorna Simpson, and many others, inform debates over the concept of identity. Quashie argues that these authors and artists replace the notion of a stable, singular identity with the concept of the self developing in a process both communal and perpetually fluid, a relationship that functions in much the same way that an adult woman negotiates with her girlfriend(s). He suggests that memory itself is corporeal, a literal body that is crucial to the process of becoming. Quashie also explores the problem language poses for the black woman artist and her commitment to a mastery that neither colonizes nor excludes.

The analysis throughout interacts with schools of thought such as psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and post-colonialism, but ultimately moves beyond these to propose a new cultural aesthetic, one that ultimately aims to center black women and their philosophies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813533674
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: What Becomes ... 1
Ch. 1 The Other Dancer as Self: Notes on Girlfriend Selfhood 15
Ch. 2 Self(full)ness and the Politics of Community 42
Ch. 3 Liminality and Selfhood: Toward Being Enough 78
Ch. 4 An Indisputable Memory of Blackness 98
Ch. 5 The Practice of a Memory Body 111
Ch. 6 Toward a Language Aesthetic 129
Ch. 7 My Own, Language 148
Conclusion ... What Is Undone 173
Notes 179
Works Cited 207
Index 221
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