Embodied Avatars

Author: Uri McMillan
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479852473
Format: PDF, Docs
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How black women have personified art,expression,identity, and freedom through performance Winner, 2016 William Sanders Scarborough Prize, presented by the Modern Language Association for an outstanding scholarly study of African American literature or culture Winner, 2016 Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History, presented by the American Society for Theatre Research Winner, 2016 Errol Hill Award for outstanding scholarship in African American theater, drama, and/or performance studies, presented by the American Society for Theatre Research Tracing a dynamic genealogy of performance from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, Uri McMillan contends that black women artists practiced a purposeful self- objectification, transforming themselves into art objects. In doing so, these artists raised new ways to ponder the intersections of art, performance, and black female embodiment. McMillan reframes the concept of the avatar in the service of black performance art, describing black women performers’ skillful manipulation of synthetic selves and adroit projection of their performances into other representational mediums. A bold rethinking of performance art, Embodied Avatars analyzes daring performances of alterity staged by “ancient negress” Joice Heth and fugitive slave Ellen Craft, seminal artists Adrian Piper and Howardena Pindell, and contemporary visual and music artists Simone Leigh and Nicki Minaj. Fusing performance studies with literary analysis and visual culture studies, McMillan offers astute readings of performances staged in theatrical and quotidian locales, from freak shows to the streets of 1970s New York; in literary texts, from artists’ writings to slave narratives; and in visual and digital mediums, including engravings, photography, and video art. Throughout, McMillan reveals how these performers manipulated the dimensions of objecthood, black performance art, and avatars in a powerful re-scripting of their bodies while enacting artful forms of social misbehavior. The Critical Lede interview with Uri McMillan

Wedlocked

Author: Katherine Franke
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479814008
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Compares today’s same-sex marriage movement to the experiences of black people in the mid-nineteenth century. The staggering string of victories by the gay rights movement’s campaign for marriage equality raises questions not only about how gay people have been able to successfully deploy marriage to elevate their social and legal reputation, but also what kind of freedom and equality the ability to marry can mobilize. Wedlocked turns to history to compare today’s same-sex marriage movement to the experiences of newly emancipated black people in the mid-nineteenth century, when they were able to legally marry for the first time. Maintaining that the transition to greater freedom was both wondrous and perilous for newly emancipated people, Katherine Franke relates stories of former slaves’ involvements with marriage and draws lessons that serve as cautionary tales for today’s marriage rights movements. While “be careful what you wish for” is a prominent theme, they also teach us how the rights-bearing subject is inevitably shaped by the very rights they bear, often in ways that reinforce racialized gender norms and stereotypes. Franke further illuminates how the racialization of same-sex marriage has redounded to the benefit of the gay rights movement while contributing to the ongoing subordination of people of color and the diminishing reproductive rights of women. Like same-sex couples today, freed African-American men and women experienced a shift in status from outlaws to in-laws, from living outside the law to finding their private lives organized by law and state licensure. Their experiences teach us the potential and the perils of being subject to legal regulation: rights—and specifically the right to marriage—can both burden and set you free.