This volume explores issues of black female identity through the various “imaginings” of the black female body in print and visual culture. Offering an exploration of the continuities and discontinuities of subjectivity and agency, this collection reveals black women’s expressivity as a multilayered enterprise, liberating and similarly confining. Thus these representations in art, literature, and culture perform a delicate and challenging dance of redemption—a redemption necessary to flesh out the precarious dynamics of being black and female at the turn of this century. Contributions emphasize the ways in which the black female body is framed and how black women (and their allies) have sought to write themselves back into social discourses on their terms.
"Imagining the Black Female Body enters into a critical dialogue about literary and visual representations of the black female body in order to connect contemporary representations of black womanhood with an historical legacy of African American women's experiences. Captivating original essays attend to a history of abuse and pain as well as a history of joyful survival and celebration. The volume is thus inherently interdisciplinary in demonstrating how black women have sought to re-imagine their world and reconstitute how the world sees them. Students and scholars of rhetoric, visual culture, and history will find it especially resonant." - Lovalerie King, Director, Africana Research Center, Penn State University "Professor Henderson has pulled together an engaging interdisciplinary volume on a most evocative subject. Giving scholarly credit where credit is due, Imagining the Black Female Body does not however simply retread others' arguments on gender, race, sexuality, and agency, but pushes the analyses in new directions." - T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University, and author of Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women