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Re-Imagining Black WomenA Critique of Post-Feminist and Post-Racial Melodrama in Culture and Politics$
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Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479855858

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479855858.001.0001

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Melodrama, Liminality, and Post-Politics: Neoliberal Racial and Gender Formation in the New Millennium

(p.1) Introduction
Re-Imagining Black Women

Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

NYU Press

This introductory chapter explains why Critical Black Feminism is a necessary frame of reference to understand post-politics, that is, a repertoire of fantasies, frames, and narratives that ideologically undermine and resist movements for social change. The chapter addresses the limitations of the current literature on post-politics, namely: a failure to provide an intersectional analysis that examines both race and gender, among other critical elements, and a neglect of the ways in which culture and politics are constitutive of post-racial, post-feminist ideology. Also, by centering black women, the chapter explains how the Moynihan Report is an urtext for black cultural melodrama in particular and post-politics more generally. It explains how melodrama has become a key genre for politics in the United States, particularly concerning blacks, basing ideas about inclusion and civic membership on whether people are good and virtuous super minorities or abject and unworthy villains. The chapter explains the concept of liminality as it relates to melodrama and goes on to provide an outline for the book.

Keywords:   Critical Black Feminism, post-racial, post-feminist, Moynihan Report, liminality, abject, melodrama, movements, narrative, civic membership

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