A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography (Paperback)
  • A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography (Paperback)

A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography (Paperback)

Paperback 392 Pages / Published: 08/12/2014
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A Taste for Brown Sugar boldly takes on representations of black women's sexuality in the porn industry. It is based on Mireille Miller-Young's extensive archival research and her interviews with dozens of women who have worked in the adult entertainment industry since the 1980s. The women share their thoughts about desire and eroticism, black women's sexuality and representation, and ambition and the need to make ends meet. Miller-Young documents their interventions into the complicated history of black women's sexuality, looking at individual choices, however small-a costume, a gesture, an improvised line-as small acts of resistance, of what she calls "illicit eroticism." Building on the work of other black feminist theorists, and contributing to the field of sex work studies, she seeks to expand discussion of black women's sexuality to include their eroticism and desires, as well as their participation and representation in the adult entertainment industry. Miller-Young wants the voices of black women sex workers heard, and the decisions they make, albeit often within material and industrial constraints, recognized as their own.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822358282
Number of pages: 392
Weight: 885 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm

"This much-needed volume reminds scholars of the need to deepen porn studies and strengthen its interdisciplinary possibilities through various theoretical lenses and critical approaches. Supporting her book with abundant images, Miller-Young thoughtfully exposes readers to concepts both visually and intellectually. ... A necessary volume for academics as well as those interested in popular culture studies that have a dialogue with race and/or women. Essential. Graduate students/faculty." -- M. Martinez * Choice *
"Reading A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography on a New York subway train will earn you some very interesting looks. Adorned with a cover photo featuring the beautiful porn star Jeannie Pepper topless in a white fur like something out of Superfly, and the customary wall of text that comes with academic books on the back, it brings out New York's best double takes. ... A Taste for Brown Sugar offers fine scholarship, done with the utmost respect of the subject and the workers chronicled." -- Sydette Harry * make/shift *
"Through meticulous research and a masterly melding of the best of theoretical, conceptual, and empirical work in black women's sexuality, A Taste for Brown Sugar analyzes African American women's agency within the adult entertainment industry.... If A Taste for Brown Sugar can produce a solid analysis of such a difficult, controversial topic, Miller-Young has set a high bar for similar projects that study oppositional knowledge." -- Patricia Hill Collins * The Journal of American History *
"[E]ssential reading for anyone seeking to understand new work on feminism, critical race studies, pornography, and film history." -- Svati P. Shah * Women's Review of Books *
"A Taste for Brown Sugar is a necessary, long overdue text that should interest scholars and students of various fields and backgrounds, particularly those interested in feminist theory, media studies, histories of black women, sex work, and of course porn studies.... The book is impressive, cultivating a rich and diverse tapestry of urgent voices and images, revealing the complicated interplay between labor and representation." -- Laura Helen Marks * Feminist Media Studies *
"Everyone interested in understanding the industry and the people, especially the Black women involved, in front of and behind the cameras, should read this book cover to cover.... There is a wide audience for this well-researched and well-produced book.... The general public as well as researchers from film and media studies, history, sexuality studies, African American studies, labor studies, critical race studies, sociology, and anthropology will appreciate A Taste for Brown Sugar." -- Sherri L. Barnes * Feminist Collections *
"Miller-Young offers a compelling examination of African American women's participation in one of the nation's most understudied industries: the porn business. Filling a void within African American women's historiography and presenting a more nuanced perspective on women's work, she situates black female porn laborers within the larger context of 20th-century work. Miller-Young has produced a bold and engaging study that challenges historians of the black female experiences to re-conceptualize ideas about race and gender and labor and black sexualities." -- LaShawn Harris * Souls *
"In a field so dominated by the visual, it is Miller-Young's insistence that we hear, as well as see, black women in porn that makes her book so textured, colorful, brash, and critically engrossing. Divided into six well-written and informative chapters, this ambitious scholarly tour de force offers an ethnographic account of black women's labor in the porn industry, as well as a historicist cultural appraisal of blackness in pornography from the early twentieth century into our present era." -- L. H. Stallings * Black Camera *
"Throughout six chapters of insightful and rigorous thought, Miller-Young traces the evolution of black sex actors as a heavily stereotyped spectacle during the silent era to a more nuanced and contemporary understanding of them as working professionals seeking, and oftentimes finding, autonomy and female sexual empowerment. A Taste for Brown Sugar is a leap forward in feminist thinking and sex work studies, and a crucial read for any student of women's studies." -- Laura L. S. Bauer * Women's Studies *
"All those who are interested in porn, African American, film, cultural or queer studies would benefit from reading this multifaceted, nuanced, decidedly non-white interpretation of the porn industry." -- Angela Mika Holton * Sexuality & Culture *
"A Taste for Brown Sugar has raised the bar for porn studies." -- Whitney Strub * Journal of the History of Sexuality *
"By centering labor, Miller-Young deftly side-steps debates about whether pornography can be feminist and instead shows us that economies of desire are mutable and can be manipulated to find spaces of survival and even pleasure. This perspective is an important addition to black feminist sexuality studies. Audiences interested in American studies, labor history, the history of pornography, black feminism, and sexuality studies should take note of this important book." -- Amber Jamilla Musser * GLQ *
"A Taste of Brown Sugar is a profoundly impressive history, guided confidently by Miller-Young's expert hand. Her interviews, excerpts of which are incorporated throughout the book, provide critical evidence for her nuanced thesis and demonstrate the value of oral history in otherwise 'traditional' historical accounts." -- Mario Alvarez * Oral History Review *

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