Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University
ICM New Conversations Series
Associate Professor, English, Cornell University
Fred Moten, echoing Hortense Spillers, describes the flesh created through the middle passage as “this flesh that we might call a body.” Crawford proposes that the “fleshwork” of black diasporic feminism recasts the political as the process of imagining the unimaginable. We often think that black bodies will be fully liberated when the bodies are no longer politicized, but Richard Iton’s theory of the black fantastic pushes past the sense that the state of non-politicized bodies is the goal, as if we are only struggling with erasing the ideology that has been written on black bodies. Iton pushes us to the illegible work of resistance and struggle performed as black subjects reanimate the overwritten black body and denaturalize the notion that political resistance cannot be tied to pleasure and play. This lecture is situated at the crossroads of 21st century African and African American women’s cultural productions. Crawford shows a black diasporic feminist urge to pay tribute to black women’s seizure of their right to animate flesh and to practice a type of proud flesh that is too excessive for normative texts of black feminism.