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Disobedient Black Mothers: The Culpable Sufferer, the Criminal Dead, and the Intolerability of Refusal
Drawing feminist analyses of the affective work of shame, compassion, and pain into dialogue with an Afro-pessimist critique of the ‘ordinary’ spectacle of Black suffering and death, this lecture theoretically examines how the ‘bad feelings’ that stick to Black women’s disobedient bodies are used to uphold the whiteness of public space. Considering mainstream news media and social media coverage of two separate instances from 2019 where Black mothers were subjected to public violation or public scorn — in accordance with racial-sexual logics that define the Black female body as recalcitrant, ungovernable, and disposable — I argue that the fleeting shame or sustained apathy of a looking public reveals how the theatre of Black distress renews the racial fraternities of the white city-nation. Situating this analysis within the intellectual tradition of Black feminist thought and praxis this lecture further interrogates the ways women refuse these capitalisations through mutinous affects that illicitly reproduce Black life or embrace death.

Jun 14, 2021 03:30 PM in Amsterdam

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