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Difficult DiasporasThe Transnational Feminist Aesthetic of the Black Atlantic$
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Samantha Pinto

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814759486

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814759486.001.0001

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It’s Lonely at the Bottom

It’s Lonely at the Bottom

Elizabeth Alexander, Deborah Richards, and the Cosmopolitan Poetics of the Black Body

(p.44) 2 It’s Lonely at the Bottom
Difficult Diasporas

Samantha Pinto

NYU Press

This chapter examines Elizabeth Alexander’s The Venus Hottentot and Deborah Richards Last One Out—both of which reference black popular cultural figures such as Saartjie Baartman to remap the difficult genealogy of black corporeality. These collections consider and critique models of diasporic subject formation that lean on example, exception, and recovery, creating instead a network of compromised affiliations and cosmopolitan desires that acknowledge both the pleasures and dangers of representation. Tracing a range of alternative ways to engage the vexed black body through its very visible global circulation, Alexander and Richards reorder the legacies of iconic raced and gendered representations; hence, establishing new genealogy of black women's bodies in innovative form.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Alexander, The Venus Hottentot, Deborah Richards, Last One Out, black popular culture, black figures, black corporeality, black women's bodies

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