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The Queer Limit of Black Memory: Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution

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The Queer Limit of Black Memory: Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution identifies a new archive of Black women’s literature that has heretofore been on the margins of literary scholarship and African diaspora cultural criticism. It argues that Black lesbian texts celebrate both the strategies of resistance used by queer Black subjects and the spaces for grieving the loss of queer Black subjects that dominant histories of the African diasporas often forget. Matt Richardson has gathered an understudied archive of texts by LaShonda Barnett, S. Diane Adamz-Bogus, Dionne Brand, Sharon Bridgforth, Laurinda D. Brown, Jewelle Gomez, Jackie Kay, and Cherry Muhanji in order to relocate the queerness of Black diasporic vernacular traditions, including drag or gender performance, blues, jazz, and West African spiritual and religious practices.

Richardson argues that the vernacular includes queer epistemologies, or methods for accessing and exploring the realities of Black queer experience that other alternative archives and spaces of commemoration do not explore. The Queer Limit of Black Memory brings together several theorists whose work is vital within Black studies—Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, Frantz Fanon, and Orlando Patterson—in service of queer readings of Black subjectivity.

ISBN-13: 9780814252901

Media Type: Paperback(1)

Publisher: Ohio State University Press

Publication Date: 06-01-2016

Pages: 216

Product Dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Series: Black Performance and Cultural Criticism

Matt Richardson is assistant professor of English and African and African Diaspora Studies and affiliate faculty with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Listening to the Archives: Black Lesbian Literature and Queer Memory 1

Chapter 1 Desirous Mistresses and Unruly Slaves: Neo-Slave Narratives, Property, Power, and Desire 21

Chapter 2 Small Movements: Queer Blues Epistemologies in Cherry Muhanji's Her 57

Chapter 3 "Mens Womens Some that is Both Some That is Neither": Spiritual Epistemology and Queering the Black Rural South in the Work of Sharon Bridgforth 83

Chapter 4 "Make It Up and Trace It Back": Remembering Black Trans Subjectivity in Jackie Kay's Trumpet 107

Chapter 5 What Grace Was: Erotic Epistemologies and Diasporic Belonging in Dionne Brand's In Another Place, Not Here 136

Epilogue: Grieving the Queer: Anti-Black Violence and Black Collective Memory 159

Notes 169

Index 199