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

ISBN : 9780195116595

Mae G. Henderson
336 Pages
162 x 242 mm
Pub date
Jun 2014
Race and American Culture
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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.


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
15. Sherley Anne Williams: "Someone Sweet Angel Chile"
16. Bebe Moore Campbell: "Literature as Equipment for Living"

About the author: 

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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