Black Women Novelists’ Contribution to Contemporary Feminist Discourse

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The Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas hearings serve as a point of departure to examine how six texts by black women novelists contribute to contemporary black feminist discourse. The manuscript is a comparative study of novels by both anglophone and francophone women: Mariama Ba’s Une Si Longue Lettre; ; Sapphire’s Push; Buchi Emecheta’s Head Above Water; Ken Bugul’s Le Baobab Fou; Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions; and Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane. The text challenges the assumption that African American women’s writing is synonymous with black women’s writing, and it approaches issues facing black women globally: lesbianism, incest, rape, prostitution, polygamy, battering, and mental illness.


“For Sarr, all these writers revision in their own way Hélène Cixous’ writing the body and defining the female self, but they go beyond ‘écriture feminine’ to ‘transgress the boundaries of dominant male discourse.’ By exposing what is specific to the Black female self, these authors challenge the notion that racial unity comes at the price of gender and sexual agency.” – Gay Wilentz, Director of Ethnic studies, East Carolina University

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Foreword; Introduction
1. “Talkin’ on Paper” and “Prise d’Ecriture”: Writing the Black Female Self: Mariama Ba’s Une Si Longue Lettre and Sapphire’s Push
2. Therapeutic Revelations and Missing Mothers: African Women’s Autobiography: Buchi Emecheta’s Head Above Water and Ken Bugul’s Le Baobab Fou
3. The “Absent Bodies” of Fanon and Cesaire: Relocating Women in (His)story: Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane
4. Writing Beyond the Ending
Bibliography; Index

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