When God Lost Her Tongue : Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination book cover
1st Edition

When God Lost Her Tongue
Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 24, 2021
ISBN 9780367198343
September 24, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

When God Lost Her Tongue seeks to explore historical consciousness as captured through the Black feminist imagination that re-centers the perspectives of Black women in the African Diaspora, and revisits how Black women’s transatlantic histories are re-imagined and politicized in our contemporary moment.

Connecting select historical case studies – from the Caribbean and Latin America, the African continent, North America, and Europe – while also examining the retelling of these histories in the work of present-day writers and artists, Janell Hobson utilizes a Black feminist lens to rescue the narratives of African-descended women, which have either been marginalized, erased, forgotten, and/or mis-remembered. They are often invoked, but sometimes we forget their names. African goddesses crossing the Atlantic with captive Africans. Women leaders igniting the Haitian revolution. Unnamed Black women in European paintings. African women on different sides of the "door of no return" during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. Even ubiquitous "Black queens" heralded and signified in a Beyoncé music video or a Janelle Monáe lyric. And then there are those whose names we will never forget, like the iconic Harriet Tubman.

This critical interdisciplinary intervention will be key reading for students and researchers studying African American Women, Black Feminisms, Feminist Methodologies, Africana Studies, Women and Gender Studies.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1

A Meditation on Black Feminist Divinity

Chapter 2

Reframing Portraits of Black Womanhood

Chapter 3

Revolving Doors of No Return

Chapter 4

Cultural Currency and the Value of Harriet Tubman

Chapter 5

To Play the Queen, To Embody the Goddess




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Janell Hobson is Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA.


"From Harriet Tubman to Beyoncé, this is a book for anyone interested in the politics of Black female representation across the arts. In accessible language and through cogent analysis, Janell Hobson’s When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination explores African Diasporic women’s lives as represented by others and by themselves through paintings, film, novels, music and poetry, to vivify what it means, and has always meant, to be Black and female under colonial eyes. The result is a text as freeing as it is edifying for Black women of yesteryear as of today."

Myriam J. A. Chancy, HBA Chair in the Humanities, Scripps College, Author of Autochthonomies: Transnationalism, Testimony and Transmission in the African Diaspora.