Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art

1st Edition

By Charmaine A. Nelson


248 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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This book offers the first concentrated examination of the representation of the black female subject in Western art through the lenses of race/color and sex/gender. Charmaine A. Nelson poses critical questions about the contexts of production, the problems of representation, the pathways of circulation and the consequences of consumption. She analyzes not only how, where, why and by whom black female subjects have been represented, but also what the social and cultural impacts of the colonial legacy of racialized western representation have been. Nelson also explores and problematizes the issue of the historically privileged white artistic access to black female bodies and the limits of representation for these subjects. This book not only reshapes our understanding of the black female representation in Western Art, but also furthers our knowledge about race and how and why it is (re)defined and (re)mobilized at specific times and places throughout history.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: From Girls to Women: Locating Black Female Subjects in Western Art 1. Through An-Other’s Eyes: White Canadian Artists – Black Female Subjects 2. Racing Childhood: Representations of Black Girls in Canadian Art Part II: Slavery and Portraiture: Agency, Resistance and Art as Colonial Discourse 3. Slavery, Portraiture and the Colonial Limits of Canadian Art History 4. The Fruits of Resistance: Reading Portrait of a Negro Slave on the Sly 5. Tying the Knot: Black Female Slave Dress in Canada Part III: The Nude and the Naked: Black Women, White Ideals and the Racialization of Sexuality 6. Coloured Nude: Fetishization, Disguise, Dichotomy 7. The "Hottentot Venus" in Canada: Modernism, Censorship and the Racial Limits of Female Sexuality Part IV: From White Marble to Coloured Stone: Aesthetics, Materiality and Degrees of Blackness 8. White Marble, Black Bodies and the Fear of the Invisible Negro: Signifying Blackness in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Neoclassical Sculpture 9. Vénus Africaine: Race, Beauty and African-ness 10. Allegory, Race and the Four Continents: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s Les quatre parties du monde soutenant la sphere céleste. Conclusion: Whiteness as Collective Narcissism, Towards a New Vision

About the Author

Charmaine A. Nelson is Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University.

About the Series

Routledge Studies on African and Black Diaspora

Routledge  Studies  on  African  and  Black  Diaspora is  designed  as  a  forum  that confronts established  academic  boundaries  in  the  study  of  social,  cultural  and political history of people  of  African  descent  while  at  the  same  time  exploring  the  contours  of  knowledge production and  understanding about Africa and its diaspora through rigorous and critical scrutiny.

The series marks a critical development in publishing theoretically and historically significant works   on   the   lived   experiences   of   people   of   African   descent   in   all  parts  of  the world. The  series publishes original works of the highest    quality   from  across  the broad  disciplinary  fields  of  social  sciences  and  humanities  with  a  strong  emphasis  on theoretically informed  and  empirically  grounded  texts.  Focus  issues  include  the centrality of power  and resistance, knowledge production, gendered cartographies, memory, race, class and  other aspects of social identity   in exploring   different dimensions (cultural, geographic, political, social and psychological)  through which people  of  the  African  descent have  moved in  the context  of globalized and transnational spaces.

The editors welcome book proposals as well as manuscripts that address issues related to  African and Black  Diaspora. Single authored manuscripts as well as thematically coherent  edited  volumes will  be considered.  Inquiries should be directed to the Series Editors or the Routledge editor:

Fassil Demissie,
DePaul University, ([email protected])

Sandra Jackson,
DePaul University ([email protected])

Leanne Hinves

Routledge Books ([email protected])

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / African
ART / American / African American
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination & Race Relations
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies