Scandalize My NameBlack Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life

Scandalize My NameBlack Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life

Terrion L. Williamson

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780823274727

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

From sapphire, mammy, and jezebel to the angry black woman, baby mama, and nappy-headed ho, black female iconography has had a long and tortured history in public culture. The telling of this history has long occupied the work of black female theorists—much of which has been foundational in situating black women within the matrix of sociopolitical thought and practice in the United States. Scandalize My Name builds upon the rich tradition of this work while taking a detour from conventional stereotype discourse to argue that black social life defies the limitations of representational thought and practice. By approaching the study of black female representation not as a mechanism of negative or positive valuation but as an opening onto a serious contemplation of the vagaries of black social life, Williamson makes a case for a radical black subject position that structures and is structured by an amorphous social order that ultimately destabilizes the very notion of “civil society.” At turns memoir, sociological inquiry, literary analysis, and cultural critique, Scandalize My Name explores topics as varied as serial murder, reality television, Christian evangelism, and the novels of Toni Morrison, to advance black feminist practice as a modality through which black sociality is both theorized and made material.