Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men’s Literature and Culture, 1775–1995

Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men’s Literature and Culture, 1775–1995

by Maurice O. Wallace, Maurice O. Wallace, Wallace
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822328690

ISBN-13: 9780822328698

Pub. Date: 06/12/2002

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In seven representative episodes of black masculine literary and cultural history-from the founding of the first African American Masonic lodge in 1775 to the 1990s choreographies of modern dance genius Bill T. Jones-Constructing the Black Masculine maps black men's historical efforts to negotiate the frequently discordant relationship between blackness…  See more details below

Overview

In seven representative episodes of black masculine literary and cultural history-from the founding of the first African American Masonic lodge in 1775 to the 1990s choreographies of modern dance genius Bill T. Jones-Constructing the Black Masculine maps black men's historical efforts to negotiate the frequently discordant relationship between blackness and maleness in the cultural logic of American identity. Maurice O. Wallace draws on an impressive variety of material to investigate the survivalist strategies employed by black men who have had to endure the disjunction between race and masculinity in American culture.

Highlighting their chronic objectification under the gaze of white eyes, Wallace argues that black men suffer a social and representational crisis in being at once seen and unseen, fetish and phantasm, spectacle and shadow in the American racial imagination. Invisible and disregarded on one hand, black men, perceived as potential threats to society, simultaneously face the reality of hypervisibility and perpetual surveillance. Paying significant attention to the sociotechnologies of vision and image production over two centuries, Wallace shows how African American men-as soldiers, Freemasons, and romantic heroes-have sought both to realize the ideal image of the American masculine subject and to deconstruct it in expressive mediums like modern dance, photography, and theatre. Throughout, he draws on the experiences and theories of such notable figures as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and James Baldwin.

Combining literary theory, visual art theory, race and ethnic studies, psychoanalysis, and performance studies, this book will interest students and scholars of race, literature, gender studies, and American history and culture.

About the Author

Maurice O. Wallace is Assistant Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Duke University.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822328698
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
06/12/2002
Series:
a John Hope Franklin Center Book
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Pt. 1Spectragraphia
1On Dangers Seen and Unseen: Identity Politics and the Burden of Black Male Specularity19
Pt. 2No Hiding Place
2"Are We Men?": Prince Hall, Martin Delany, and the Black Masculine Ideal in Black Freemasonry, 1775-186553
3Constructing the Black Masculine: Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and the Sublimits of African American Autobiography82
4A Man's Place: Architecture, Identity, and Black Masculine Being108
Pt. 3Looking B(l)ack
5"I'm Not Entirely What I Look Like": Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and the Hegemony of Vision; or, Jimmy's FBEye Blues133
6What Juba Knew: Dance and Desire in Melvin Dixon's Vanishing Rooms147
Afterword: "What Ails You Polyphemus?": Toward a New Ontology of Vision in Frantz Fanon's Black Skin White Masks170
Notes179
Bibliography213
Index227

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