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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55683
Doc. No:TL25637
Call number:‭3388660‬
Main Entry:Jennifer Piper Wood
Title & Author:The new black: Sartorial, corporeal and sexual politics in the Harlem RenaissanceJennifer Piper Wood
College:Yale University
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:336
Abstract:This dissertation interrogates the ways in which fashion and the black body were reconceptualized and represented by the artists of the New Negro Movement, particularly in relation to consumption, visibility, performance, and sexuality. The search for self-determination, one of the broader aims of the movement, was echoed in this new understanding and depiction of the corporeal and sartorial, as both were conflicted sites indicative of the social and cultural upheaval of the period. The introduction focuses on the 1925 Rhinelander Case, as this trial brought to the fore body politics, complexities of racial identity, and changing sexual mores, topics central to this work. In the first chapter, I consider how Jessie Fauset depicted the body's main function as restoring the black middle class social order through procreation. Although she suggests other uses for corporeality (whether performance or passing), she eventually privileges the heteronormative domestic sphere of motherhood in the name of uplift and eugenics. The second chapter centers on Van Vechten's representation of black masculinity as hypersexual, violent, effeminate or impotent yet always commodified, whether in his novel, Nigger Heaven (1926), or his semi-private scrapbooks, as black bodies are necessarily viewed through the lens of his desire and framed by his privilege. The third chapter focuses on Nella Larsen's Helga Crane whose traumatic experiences of abuse and abandonment as a child translate into a conflicted relationship to her body as an adult. She is unable to engage with her interiority and instead fixates on her exteriority, looking to consumption and cosmopolitanism so as to avoid delving into her psyche. In the fourth chapter, I focus on Claude McKay's time in Tangier in the 1930s, particularly his unpublished and unfinished story, "Miss Allah," in which he draws a parallel between women's bodies being policed by Islam and the control over Moroccan bodies by Christian and colonial forces. While McKay fiercely critiqued gender oppression through his Arab female characters, he does not allow these same characters to combat said oppression. Finally, I consider the internationalism and anti-colonialist rhetoric of the movement more generally. The conclusion contests Harlem's primacy in the narrative of this period by considering Boston's Saturday Evening Quill and the playwright Alvira Hazzard, as both have been eclipsed and forgotten in the scholarship on this era.
Subject:Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Sexual politics; Harlem Renaissance; Van Vechten, Carl; Fashion; Larsen, Nella; Fauset, Jessie Redmon; McKay, Claude; Modern literature; Black history; American literature; 0591:American literature; 0328:Black history; 0298:Modern literature
Added Entry:R. B. Stepto
Added Entry:Yale University