Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora

Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora : Black Women Writing and Performing

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Tropes ranging from Houston Baker's "bluesman," to Henry Louis Gates' "signifyin'" to Geneva Smitherman's "talkin' and testifyin'" to bell hooks' "talking back" to Cheryl Wall's "worrying the line" all affirm the power of sonance and sound in the African American literary tradition. The collection of essays in Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora contributes to this tradition by theorizing the preeminence of voice and narration (and the consequences of their absence) in the literary and cultural performances of black women. Looking to work by such prominent black female authors as Alice Walker, Sherley Anne Williams, Toni Morrison, Zora Neal Hurston, among many others, Mae G. Henderson provides a deeply felt reflection on race and gender and their effects within the discourse of speaker and listener.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195116593
  • 9780195116595

Table of contents

CONTENTS ; Introduction ; 1. Alice Walker's The Color Purple: Revisions and Redefinitions ; 2. (W)Riting The Work and Working the Rites ; 3. Speaking in Tongues: Dialectics, Dialogics, and the Black Woman Writer's Literary Tradition ; 4. Toni Morrison's Beloved: Re-Membering the Body as Historical Text ; 5. The Stories of (O)Dessa: Stories of Complicity and Resistance ; 6. "Seen But Not Heard": A Poetics of Afro-American Women's Writing ; 7. Gayl Jones's White Rat: Speaking Silence/Silencing Speech ; 8. State of the Art: Black Feminist Theory ; 9. What It Means to Teach the Other When the Other Is the Self ; 10. Authors and Authorities ; 11. Nella Larsen's Passing: Passing, Performance, and (Post)modernism ; 12. Josephine Baker and La Revue Negre: From Ethnography to Performance ; 13. Dancing Diaspora: Colonial, Postcolonial, and Diasporic Readings of Josephine Baker as Dancer and Performance Artist ; 14. About Face, or, What Is This "Back" in B(l)ack Popular Culture?: From Venus Hottentot to Video Hottie ; IN RETROSPECT ; 15. Sherley Anne Williams: "Someone Sweet Angel Chile" ; 16. Bebe Moore Campbell: "Literature as Equipment for Living" ; Bibliography ; Index
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Review quote

Speaking in Tongues is an important volume as a deeper literary-historical view into African-American women's writing * T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Cultural Sociology * Mae Henderson's always luminous, often foundational work is a gift to all who study women's writing and African American literature. Fusing beautiful theorizing with insightful close readings, Henderson illuminates Josephine Baker's performances and hip-hop videos as brilliantly as she does the fictions of Hurston, Morrison, and Walker. * Cheryl A. Wall, author of Worrying the Line: Black Women Writers, Lineage, and Literary Tradition *
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About Mae G. Henderson

Mae G. Henderson is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is editor of Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (2005), Borders, Boundaries and Frames (1995), and co-editor (with John Blassingame) of the five-volume Antislavery Newspapers and Periodicals: An Annotated Index of Letters, 1817-1871 (1980).
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