Cover

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Frontmatter

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Title Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xii

I have been preoccupied with documenting and analyzing the rich intellectual and activist tradition of African American women whose struggles around black feminist politics have been in recent years both celebrated and demonized. This painstaking work involved probing and making more visible the divergent philosophies embedded in black feminist theorizing among women and men since the midnineteenth century...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xiii

Davidson: I would like to thank my coeditors. I would also like to thank the contributors for their willingness to participate in this project. I would like to thank Jane Bunker, Dr. Tina Chanter, and the State University of New York Press for providing us with the opportunity to publish this important volume. Finally I would like to acknowledge my friends and colleagues in the African and African American Studies Program

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1. Introduction: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy

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pp. 1-11

Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy explores the connections between the traditions of black feminism and continental philosophy. Several of the chapters collected here use resources in continental philosophy to engage in discussions about gender and race and/or use black feminism to shed new light on themes within continental philosophy. Others draw from both ...

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1. Black Feminism, Poststructuralism,and the Contested Character of Experience

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pp. 13-34

Contemporary continental philosophy, going back at least to Simone de Beau-voir, poses challenges to the idea of direct, unmediated personal experience. For Beauvoir, the idea is rejected the moment she writes, “One is not born but becomes a woman.”1 A woman’s life and her perspective on it is not a naturally occurring given like eye color or a heartbeat; experience is the product...

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2. Sartre, Beauvoir, and the Race/Gender Analogy:A Case for Black Feminist Philosophy

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pp. 35-51

The discipline of philosophy leaves much to be desired when it comes to black feminism. Although white feminism (especially French feminism in the continental tradition) is making strides, this is often to the exclusion or marginalization of women of color. Similarly black male philosophers and scholars have left their imprint on continental philosophy (for example, in the critical philosophy ...

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3. The Difference That Difference Makes: Black Feminism and Philosophy

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pp. 53-65

To ask after the existence of black feminist philosophy is to ask after the tools, resources, and skills attached to the characteristics specific to the discipline of philosophy. The question of whether or not there is room in philosophy for a subtopic and experience so particular as a black feminist philosophy also returns us to the question, What is philosophy? This latter question remains...

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4. Antigone’s Other Legacy: Slavery and Colonialism in Tègònni: An African Antigone

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pp. 67-84

In the wake of G. W. F. Hegel’s understanding of Antigone in terms of a conflict between the ethical demands of the family on the one hand and the state on the other, feminist commentary on Sophocles’ Greek tragedy has tended to privilege Hegel’s terms of reference.1 Luce Irigaray’s response to Antigone is heavily overdetermined by its Hegelian reception, while Judith Butler frames ...

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5. L Is for . . .:Longing and Becoming in The L-Word’s Racialized Erotic

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pp. 85-104

This chapter deploys the work of Judith Butler in an effort to theorize the trans-associated with transgender theories of subjectivity as a productive intervention into theories of race and whiteness. Butler’s account of the lesbian phallus, which denaturalizes the link between the penis and the phallus, enables us to imagine sources and sites of sexual pleasure in ways that exceed and indeed ...

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6. Race and Feminist Standpoint Theory

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pp. 105-119

During the course of the historic 2008 Democratic primary contest between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a provocative schism developed between the allegiances of black and white women. Many white feminists offered fervent support of Clinton, while polls indicated that the majority of...

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7. Rethinking Black Feminist Subjectivity: Ann duCille and Gilles Deleuze

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pp. 121-133

Ann duCille’s article “The Occult of True Black Womanhood: Critical Demeanor and Black Feminist Studies,” offers a profound critique of the current popularity of the academic study of black women. “Within and around the modern academy,” duCille aptly observes, “racial and gender alterity has become a hot commodity that has claimed black women as its principal...

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8. From Receptivity to Transformation: On the Intersection of Race, Gender, and the Aesthetic in Contemporary Continental Philosophy

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pp. 135-155

As many thinkers across numerous disciplines have noted, aesthetic agency and pleasure are, in the West, deeply racialized and gendered. From Catherine Clément’s thesis that opera hinges on the “undoing” of (usually dark) women to Kodwo Eshun’s critique of the “classic 60s myth” wherein white male rock musicians adopt the stereotypical attributes of working-class African American...

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9. Extending Black Feminist Sisterhood in the Face of Violence: Fanon, White Women, and Veiled Muslim Women

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pp. 157-181

An ideal vision of feminist global sisterhood is concerned with supporting political freedoms, moral agency, and well-being for women of diverse cultural backgrounds who face a myriad of assaults on their bodies, minds, and spirits. To fully participate in the work of realizing this vision, United States–based, black feminist theorists in religion and philosophy would need to address...

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10. Madness and Judiciousness: A Phenomenological Reading of a Black Woman’s Encounter with a Saleschild

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pp. 183-199

Patricia Williams, a black, female law professor, relays the above account in The Alchemy of Race and Right. Since so much of phenomenological work is preoccupied with describing phenomenology, it has become common to jokingly wonder when phenomenologists will actually do phenomenology...

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11. Black American Sexuality and the Repressive Hypothesis: Reading Patricia Hill Collins with Michel Foucault

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pp. 201-223

In the first chapter of Black Sexual Politics, Patricia Hill Collins briefly entertains the question of whether or not America is a “sexually repressive society.”1 She takes up the argument in response to the above statement from Cheryl Clarke’s 1983 discussion of homophobia in the black community. The purpose of Clarke’s discussion is to urge black Americans who are involved in struggles...

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12. Calling All Sisters: Continental Philosophy and Black Feminist Thinkers

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pp. 225-239

Continental philosophers and black activists-intellectuals have historically engaged in feminist politics, yet their writings are marked by cultural, economic, and racial difference. Given these distinctions, to what extent do the continental and black theoretical traditions converge? Is it feasible or desirable to theorize a cross-cultural, transracial sisterhood? Focusing on the writings of Simone de Beauvoir, H

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Afterword: Philosophy and the Other of the Second Sex

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pp. 241-248

Black feminist standpoint epistemology places emphasis upon the concrete experiential here of social reality, a here that is embodied and socially transversal. Theorizing from the perspective of a concrete experiential here underscores black feminists’ valorization of critical subjectivity and a skeptical sensibility regarding epistemologies that often masquerade as “neutral” and “objective” while concealing ideological underpinnings...

Contributor Notes

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pp. 249-253

Index

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pp. 255-266