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Textual correspondences in feminist art and writing

In the late 1960s and 1970s, women artists in the United States and Britain began to make texts and images of writing central to their visual compositions. This book explores the feminist stakes of that choice. It analyses how Adrian Piper, Nancy Spero, and Mary Kelly worked with the visual dimensions of language to transform how women are perceived. To illuminate the specific ways in which these artists and writers contribute to the production of a feminist imaginary, Part I charts the correspondences between the artwork of Piper and the writings of Davis. It analyses the artwork she created in the late 1960s and 1970s, when she began using text to create artwork that moves between what Piper identifies as 'the singular reality of the "other."' Davis's writing exposes the fictions animating projections that the black female body is perceived to be a malleable ground upon which fears and fantasies can take visual form. Part II focuses on aggression and traces how its repression plays out across Spero's Codex Artaud and Solanas's SCUM Manifesto. It argues that in Post-Partum Document, texts and pieces of writing become fetish objects that Kelly arranges into visual and linguistic 'poems' that forestall a confrontation with loss. Part III demonstrates that the maternal femininity thought to naturally inhere in woman is also restricted and muffled, quite efficiently repressing the possibility that women could address each other across maternal femininity's contested terrain.

Kimberly Lamm

Piper puts it, ‘do not conform to one’s preconceptions about how persons ought to look or behave.’27 In the artwork she began to produce after 1970, Piper created conditions for revising the pathologies that make visual signifiers of the black female body into emblems of the strange, disorderly, and criminally out of place. She did so by making photographs of herself and placing them in relationship to text and images of writing. While such strategies may appear small in comparison to the monumental task of dismantling racism and sexism, her engagement with Kant

in Addressing the other woman
Gender, race and poor relief in Barbados
Cecily Jones

fairness was entangled with notions of racialised sexual difference; at one end of the scale, the fair female body represented sexual morality, and at the lower end of the scale the darker black female body symbolised a debased sexuality. More than this, the black female body represented the physical manifestation of innate racial and cultural inferiority of Africans, and served to establish their

in Engendering whiteness
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Whiskey, tea, and sympathy
Katherine O’Donnell

lap top’, his fantasy is not a white racist male fantasy about possessing a black female body; it does not assume this body to be hyper-sexualised (she is carrying a lap-top after all). In truth, he wants the reflected glamour of being seen with an attractive, exotic, powerful, materially successful woman so that his wife will engage with him: ‘all in order to somehow get back at, or make jealous, or somehow, one way or another, to prod, poke, provoke, make sad or sorry or sick, his abandoning, absent, all together missing, wife’ (Ridgway, 2003a: 203). Joe tries to

in Literary visions of multicultural Ireland
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Ruvani Ranasinha

and Asian Britain. Black female playwrights – Debbie Tucker Greene, Zindika and Bernardine Evaristo 113 – became equally active, forming influential collectives such as the Theatre of Black Women (est. 1982) and the Black Mime Theatre Company (est. 1984) and exploring a non-naturalist approach to subvert rigid stereotypes of race and the black female body. Yvonne Brewster founded the theatre company Talawa in 1985. Matura's breezy, biting satires mostly focused on the struggles of first

in Hanif Kureishi
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Addressing the other woman
Kimberly Lamm

to draw out its historical and psychic legacies, Spillers argues that the repressed history of ungendering translates into black women’s limited access to a place of value in the American symbolic order. Tracing Piper’s early engagements with text and writing reveals her work’s investment in making the image of the black female body move imaginatively between visibility and invisibility to rewrite the traumatic repetitions of ungendering. The stakes of this movement become clearer by setting Piper’s early work in relation to Davis’s written reflections on her

in Addressing the other woman
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Encountering the world of White Mindfulness
Cathy-Mae Karelse

to opportunities that would usually be denied to Black 4 people. Brown confirms that this is indeed how her world unfolded. She would find herself in situations in which her face-to-face interviewers were stunned by their irreconciliation of her name and the reality of her Black, female body. In the world of these interviewers, upon recognising her given name, they commonly expect to meet a

in Disrupting White Mindfulness
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Defeatured women
Naomi Baker

inevitably embroils herself in wider, less positive meanings ascribed to the ‘ugly’ black female body. Black women in early modern texts are repeatedly associated with sexual corruption, and Jolenta’s ‘self-disfigurement’ visually confirms the very ‘blackened’ reputation that her brother has ascribed her. 91 She escapes the problematic associations of a ‘fair’ body only to become a

in Plain ugly
Constructing the contest in Barbados, 1958–66
Rochelle Rowe

, but also the deeply ingrained and racialised investment in the black (female) body as the locus of primal Africanness, prone to vulgarity. This was the very image that new black beauty competitions attempted to rehabilitate. Crucially the process of cultivation spoke of the paranoia of middle-class audiences who craved affirmation through the contest and feared any traces of ‘vulgarity’ escaping onto the beauty contest stage. j 113 J imagining caribbean womanhood Notes 1 Barbados’s historic annual Crop Over season of festivities, which originated from the

in Imagining Caribbean womanhood
Gavan Titley

birthright citizenship with bloodline citizenship – and sold by drawing on racial mythologies of fecund black female bodies compromising the integrity of the nation – to occupy a position of simple commonsense: ‘I simply won’t allow the proposal to be hijacked by those who wish to further a racist agenda; but equally I will be harsh in my criticism of those on the other end of the political spectrum who claim to detect racism in any action, however rational, fair-minded or soundly based, that affects immigration or citizenship policy’.49 This third-way posturing was

in Ireland under austerity