Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men’s Literature and Culture, 1775–1995
In seven representative episodes of black masculine literary and cultural history—from the founding of the first African American Masonic lodge in 1775 to the 1990s choreographies of modern dance genius Bill T. Jones—Constructing the Black Masculine maps black men’s historical efforts to negotiate the frequently discordant relationship between blackness and maleness in the cultural logic of American identity. Maurice O. Wallace draws on an impressive variety of material to investigate the survivalist strategies employed by black men who have had to endure the disjunction between race and masculinity in American culture.
Highlighting their chronic objectification under the gaze of white eyes, Wallace argues that black men suffer a social and representational crisis in being at once seen and unseen, fetish and phantasm, spectacle and shadow in the American racial imagination. Invisible and disregarded on one hand, black men, perceived as potential threats to society, simultaneously face the reality of hypervisibility and perpetual surveillance. Paying significant attention to the sociotechnologies of vision and image production over two centuries, Wallace shows how African American men—as soldiers, Freemasons, and romantic heroes—have sought both to realize the ideal image of the American masculine subject and to deconstruct it in expressive mediums like modern dance, photography, and theatre. Throughout, he draws on the experiences and theories of such notable figures as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and James Baldwin.
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Albert Watson architecture autobiography Bigger Black Body black male body black male subjects black masculine black masculine identity black masculinist black men's Black Skin White Booker Bourdieu camera lucida chapter closet Constructing the Black Covey critical culine cultural Dalton dance Delany Delany's Derrida dialectic discourse domestic ekphrasis Emphasis added enframement eyes Fanon fetish fiction frame Frederick Douglass Freemasonry Freemasons gender Grimshaw's Hall's Henry Louis Gates homosexual Ibid imagination James Baldwin Jesse Jesse's Jones literary Lodge lodge-room look manhood Mark Wigley Martin Delany masculine ideality Masonic metaphor Metro modern Narrative Native Negro photographic picture political portrait pose Press Prince Hall Prince Hall Freemasonry race racial gaze racialists rape representation Richard Wright scene scopic Seltzer sexual Silverman Skin White Masks slave Slavery social space spectragraphic symbolic theory tion Vanishing Rooms vernacular architecture vision visual W. E. B. Du Bois Washington Watson's women York
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