Title

(Mis)Representations of Race: Black Fetishism and Hypersexualized Black Bodies

Lead Author Major

English & Philosophy

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Hole

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

The Black body carries with it centuries of stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the unbridled sexuality of African American women and the bestiality of African American men. The perception of Black people produced through racial and sexual mythology generates a knowledge about African Americans that predetermines what the black body signifies and substantiates anxieties about the purportedly threatening Black male body. My research examines James Baldwin’s short work of prose fiction “Going to Meet the Man” in order to deconstruct the distorted representation of the Black body, which often provides the means for the objectification of African Americans. I investigate claims made against the Black body and give particular attention to how notions of Black sexuality generated through racial and sexual mythology become a tool used to usurp the agency African Americans have over their own sexuality and identity. The scope of my research extends to extrajudicial violence and lynching practices obfuscated from U.S. memory such as family gatherings at the site of public executions. Baldwin addresses the repression of such memories by centering “Going to Meet the Man” around a series of flashbacks that force the central character to remember the events he has chosen to forget.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

25-4-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 25th, 10:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 PM

(Mis)Representations of Race: Black Fetishism and Hypersexualized Black Bodies

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

The Black body carries with it centuries of stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the unbridled sexuality of African American women and the bestiality of African American men. The perception of Black people produced through racial and sexual mythology generates a knowledge about African Americans that predetermines what the black body signifies and substantiates anxieties about the purportedly threatening Black male body. My research examines James Baldwin’s short work of prose fiction “Going to Meet the Man” in order to deconstruct the distorted representation of the Black body, which often provides the means for the objectification of African Americans. I investigate claims made against the Black body and give particular attention to how notions of Black sexuality generated through racial and sexual mythology become a tool used to usurp the agency African Americans have over their own sexuality and identity. The scope of my research extends to extrajudicial violence and lynching practices obfuscated from U.S. memory such as family gatherings at the site of public executions. Baldwin addresses the repression of such memories by centering “Going to Meet the Man” around a series of flashbacks that force the central character to remember the events he has chosen to forget.