Body Politics and the Fictional Double

Body Politics and the Fictional Double

Edited by Debra Walker King
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/1/2000
ISBN: 978-0-253-10832-6
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In recent years, questions concerning "the body" and its place in postmodern discourses have taken center stage in academic disciplines. Body Politics joins these discussions by focusing on the challenges women face when their externally defined identities and representations as bodies—their body fictions—speak louder than what they know to be their true selves.

Racialized, gendered, or homophobic body fictions disfigure individuals by placing them beneath a veil of invisibility and by political, emotional, or spiritual suffocation. As objects of interpretation, "female bodies" in search of health care, legal assistance, professional respect, identity confirmation, and financial security must first confront their fictionalized doubles in a collision that, in many cases, ends in disappointment, distress, and even suicide.

The contributors reflect on women’s day-to-day lives and the cultural productions (literature, MTV, film, etc.) that give body fictions their power and influence. By exploring how these fictions are manipulated politically, expressively, and communally, they offer reinterpretations that challenge the fictional double while theorizing the discursive and performative forms it takes.

Contributors include Trudier Harris, Maude Hines, S. Yumiko Hulvey, Debra Walker King, Sue V. Rosser, Stephanie A. Smith, Maureen Turim, Caroline Vercoe, Gloria Wade-Gayles, and Rosemary Weatherston.

Author Bio

Debra Walker King is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Author of Deep Talk: Reading African American Literary Names, her articles and reviews have appeared in Names: the Journal of the American Name Society; Philosophy and Rhetoric; and African American Review. She also contributed essays to the Oxford Companion to African American Literature and Recovered Writers/Recovered Texts, edited by Dolan Hubbard.


"[I]ncludes fine essays from well-known and rising scholars that cover women's bodies as aging, academic, raced, performing, performative, sexualized, scientific, and monstrous." —Choice

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Body Fictions, by Debra Walker King

1. Who Says an Older Woman Can’t/Shouldn’t Dance?
Gloria Wade-Gayles
2. When Body Politics of Partial Identifications Collide with Multiple Identities of Real Academics: Limited Understandings of Research and Truncated Collegial Interactions
Sue V. Rosser
3. Body Language: Corporeal Semiotics, Literary Resistance
Maude Hines
4. Writing in Red Ink
Debra Walker King
5. Myths and Monsters: The Female Body as the Site for Political Agendas
S. Yumiko Hulvey
6. Agency and Ambivalence: A Reading of Works by Coco Fusco
Caroline Vercoe
7. Performing Bodies, Performing Culture: An interview with Coco Fusco and Nao Bustamante
Rosemary Weatherston
8. Women Singing, Women Gesturing: The Gendered and Racially-Coded Body of Music Video
Maureen Turim
9. Bombshell
Stephanie A. Smith
Afterword: The Unbroken Circle of Assumptions
Trudier Harris
Selected Bibliography
Notes on Contributors