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Blackness is often overlooked as a meaningful category in the study of medieval hagiography. Blackness, as an all-purpose descriptor of "evil," has not been analyzed in terms of its connection to historical and social conditions of the medieval period. This study employs insights from African American intellectual production to examine images of blacks and blackness in the Legenda Aurea, one of the most widely reproduced manuscripts of the late medieval period. The study begins with an analysis of the essays of James Baldwin in order to offer a theoretical framework for reading medieval blackness. Using this theoretical foundation, I examine images of blacks and blackness in the thirteenth-century hagiographic collection, Legenda Aurea. I analyze the conditions of the production of the Legenda Aurea to show how it reflects the development of Genoese expansion into Africa. Thus, images of blacks and blackness are racialized and not just ahistorical metaphors for evil. My conclusions regarding the Legenda Aurea and its influence upon the medieval formation of blackness then lead into claims regarding the significance of blackness as equated with evil to the development of a society which uses violence to suppress these putative "evil" elements. I end the study with a trans-historical study of crucifixion and lynching in order to demonstrate how the metaphor of blackness-as-evil informs twentieth-century practices of lynching.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243584885
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 68
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.14 (d)

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