• The Repeating Body: Slavery's Visual Resonance in the Contemporary

    Pages: 264
    Illustrations: 9 color illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction: Visualizing the Body of the Black Atlantic  1

    1. Black Rapture: Corporeal Afterimage and Transnational Desire  18

    2. Fragmented Figurations of the Maternal  57

    3. The Boundaries of Excess  96

    4. The Return: Conjuring the Figure, Following the Form  138

    Conclusion: Photographic Incantations of the Visual  177

    Notes  195

    Bibliography  229

    Index  245
  • "The Repeating Body offers a nuanced analysis grounded in detailed readings of embodiment in black diasporic and especially black feminist artistic works. . . . In this thoughtful study, Brown is probing the limits of the very stories that she understands as technologies of survival."


  • "The Repeating Body offers a nuanced analysis grounded in detailed readings of embodiment in black diasporic and especially black feminist artistic works. . . . In this thoughtful study, Brown is probing the limits of the very stories that she understands as technologies of survival."

  • "Kimberly Juanita Brown’s The Repeating Body is a spectacular treatment of how black women’s bodies—exploited and broken under trans-Atlantic slavery—fundamentally implicated visual and literary cultures. In her copious treatment of slavery as a historical formation and a present-day preoccupation, Brown identifies the slave woman’s body as a flashpoint for considerations of racialized sexuality and gender, considerations that refuse to “stay put” within any single historical period or any one geographical region. The Repeating Body produces a dazzling transnational archive of texts and images that speak to black women's bodies as records of slavery, records that illuminate it as a global regime of racialized gender and sexuality. This is a must-read for anyone interested in how the visual, the literary, the corporeal, and the enslaved come together." — Roderick A. Ferguson, coeditor of, Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization

    "In this moving study of slavery and its afterlife, Kimberly Juanita Brown examines literature, photography, and contemporary art to retrieve black women from the margins of slavery's representation. The Repeating Body is an invaluable contribution to the study of feminism, diaspora, and visual culture."
    — Saidiya Hartman, author of, Lose Your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route

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  • Description

    Haunted by representations of black women that resist the reality of the body's vulnerability, Kimberly Juanita Brown traces slavery's afterlife in black women's literary and visual cultural productions. Brown draws on black feminist theory, visual culture studies, literary criticism, and critical race theory to explore contemporary visual and literary representations of black women's bodies that embrace and foreground the body's vulnerability and slavery's inherent violence. She shows how writers such as Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, and Jamaica Kincaid, along with visual artists Carrie Mae Weems and María Magdalena Campos-Pons, highlight the scarred and broken bodies of black women by repeating, passing down, and making visible the residues of slavery's existence and cruelty. Their work not only provides a corrective to those who refuse to acknowledge that vulnerability, but empowers black women to create their own subjectivities. In The Repeating Body, Brown returns black women to the center of discourses of slavery, thereby providing the means with which to more fully understand slavery's history and its penetrating reach into modern American life. 

    About The Author(s)

    Kimberly Juanita Brown is Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Mount Holyoke College.
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