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The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies) [Paperback]

Jennifer C Nash

Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 May 2014 Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies
In The Black Body in Ecstasy, Jennifer C. Nash rewrites black feminism's theory of representation. Her analysis moves beyond black feminism's preoccupation with injury and recovery to consider how racial fictions can create a space of agency and even pleasure for black female subjects. Nash's innovative readings of hardcore pornographic films from the 1970s and 1980s develop a new method of analyzing racialized pornography focused on black women's pleasures in blackness: delights in toying with and subverting blackness, moments of racialized excitement, deliberate enactments of hyperbolic blackness, and humorous performances of blackness that poke fun at the fantastical project of race. Drawing on feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, and media studies, Nash creates a new black feminist interpretative practice, one attentive to the messy contradictions - between delight and discomfort, between desire and degradation - at the heart of black pleasures.

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"In The Black Body in Ecstasy, Jennifer C. Nash abandons a long-standing framework in black feminist criticism: that pornography is bad to and for black women. She boldly reads pornography for black women's ecstasy. Through careful analysis of key films from porn's golden era, Nash develops an argument that is innovative, fearless, and, ultimately, affirming of possibilities for black women's bodies, fantasies, and sexual lives." - Nicole Fleetwood, author of Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality and Blackness "This is an important book and its readers will know it. The first chapter on black feminist theories of representation brilliantly contextualizes the political stakes of the book's commitment to black women's pleasure. I predict that The Black Body in Ecstasy will be considered the most definitive statement to date on black feminist theory's engagement with visual representation." - Robyn Wiegman, author of Object Lessons

About the Author

Jennifer C. Nash is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women's Studies at George Washington University.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A new generation of black feminist thought on sexuality, pleasure, and porn 25 July 2014
By Profedeambiente - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is urgent and exacting. It is meticulously crafted, rigorously executed and a joy to read. Deploying incredibly precise close readings, Nash uses pornography in order to make an argument about the need to create a theoretical opening that might allow possibilities for imagining the sexual pleasure of African American women. This is an urgent intervention into what she terms the "twin logics of injury and recovery." She argues that such limited logic makes the possibility of representing the sexual pleasure of black women "unthinkable." Her literature review of the existing scholarship on black female sexuality is full of nuance, even as she persuasively demonstrates the limits of much of that work in relation to the complicated messy realities of sexuality. That chapter alone restructures the kinds of conversations we are able to have about pleasure, sexuality, abjection and race; it will no doubt soon become a "go-to" piece for classes in feminist theory. Critiquing the canon of black feminist thought takes courage; Nash goes there without losing the love and respect for the generations of African American feminist scholars that preceded her. Throughout the book, Nash performs these delightful close readings of a small collection of films that she uses to make very specific arguments about race, sex, female pleasure and pornography. Race in this context becomes a technique, a practice, a gesture, a possibility that toys with forms of representations. The chapter on Blax-porn-tation is pure gold! She also devotes an entire chapter to humor, a complicated subject--especially when it engages race, gender, sexuality and abjection--and she brings a fresh, smart perspective to her readings. This book is both radiant and very accessible, very teachable and an important paradigm shift in feminist of color thought. Highly recommended.
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