Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

One of the ideas that I grapple with in Body Language concerns the limitations of language—the moments when language fails us, when our experiences and feelings seem to exceed discourse. This is one of those moments. Body Language would not have been possible without the love and labor of many people, and I attempt to thank them here, ...

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1. The Anatomy of a Movement

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pp. 1-38

On Friday, March 20, 1998, the Philadelphia Daily News published an article that would dramatically change the lives of many black women. Written by Marisol Bello and titled “Shape Up, Sisters!” the article offered an extensive portrait of Melanie Marchand, a local fitness professional, and one of her clients, Denise Murphy, who had gone ...

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2. Experience: Spirituality, Sisterhood, and the Unspeakable

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pp. 39-76

Sisters in shape has been uniquely successful in sustaining black women’s engagement with long-term exercise and dietary changes, and a fundamental part of this success has to do with the organization’s ability to forge a collective consciousness. While the Sisters in Shape program explicitly focuses on the practical aspects of black women’s ...

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3. Performance: Negotiating Multiple Black Womanhoods

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pp. 77-106

Perhaps one of the most notable features of the Sisters in Shape women’s collective identity production is its foundation in an ongoing articulation of multiple black womanhoods. At times embracing traditional black gender roles while at other times rejecting or revising them, the sisters in shape women continually move between and among different ...

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4. New Bodies of Knowledge

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pp. 107-142

Hegemonic ideologies of the body are often rendered visible when “othered” bodies are drawn into dominant discourses, made to serve as points of comparison. For instance, the process by which it has become almost common knowledge that black women are more comfortable with their bodies than are white women reveals some of the white ...

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5. Rearticulating Feminist Identity Politics

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pp. 143-164

As I have been arguing throughout Body Language, the Sisters in Shape women’s attention to the body—the deeply corporeal nature of the experiences, discourses, and performances through which they produce their shifting and multiple identities—opens up alternative ways of conceptualizing some of the questions about identity ...

Notes

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pp. 165-170

References

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pp. 171-184

Index

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pp. 185-187