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Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault on Afro-American Women (Hardback)
  • Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault on Afro-American Women (Hardback)
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Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault on Afro-American Women (Hardback)

(author)
£50.00
Hardback 192 Pages / Published: 21/05/1991
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Much of the material unearthed by this book is ugly, states historiographer Patricia Morton who exposes profoundly dehumanizing constructions of reality embedded in American scholarship as it has attempted to render the history of the Afro-American woman. Focusing on the scholarly literature of fact rather than on fictional or popular portrayals, Disfigured Images explores the telling--and frequent mis-telling--of the story of black women during a century of American historiography beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending to the present. Morton finds that during this period, a large body of scholarly literature was generated that presented little fact and much fiction about black women's history. The book's ten chapters take long and lingering looks at the black woman's prefabricated past. Contemporary revisionist studies with their goals of discovering and articulating the real nature of the slave woman's experience and role are thoroughly examined in the conclusion. Disfigured Images complements current work by recognizing in its findings a long-needed refutation of a caricatured, mythical version of black women's history. Morton's introduction presents an overview of her subject emphasizing the mythical, ingrained nature of the black woman's image in historiography as a natural and permanent slave. The succeeding chapters use historical and social science works as primary sources to explore such issues as the foundations of sexism-racism, the writing of W.E.B. DuBois, twentieth century notions of black women, current black and women's studies, new and old images of motherhood, and more. The conclusion investigates how and why recent American historiographical scholarship has banished the old myths by presenting a more accurate history of black women. This keenly perceptive and original study should find an influential place in both women's studies and black studies programs as well as in American history, American literature, and sociology departments. With its unusually complete panorama of the period covered it would be a unique and valuable addition to courses such as slavery, the American South, women in (North) American history, Afro-American history, race and sex in American literature and discourse, and the sociology of race.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313272967
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 451 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Morton is a major figure in the revisionist history of African American women. Morton thoroughly reviews the depiction of black women in historical writing and in the literature of the other social sciences, from the 19th century to the present. She finds a mostly negative portrait, e.g., sexual promiscuity, poor mothering, matriarchal pathology, and emasculating dominance of African American males. The partial exception to the negative image is the stereotyped white portrait of the tough, jolly, warm black Mammy so popular in the movies and on pancake boxes. Sexism is mixed with racism in the black woman's portrait. The list of authors, white and black, accepting these stereotyped images in whole or in part reads like a who's who of American social science: Robert Park, Daniel Moynihan, Nathan Glazer, Eugene Genovese, E. Franklin Frazier, Charles Johnson, Kenneth Stampp, Stanley Elkins, Thomas Pettigrew, and Abraham Kardiner. Morton presents a detailed analysis of how, and to a lesser extent why, these negative images of African American women have predominated in social science articles and books, almost all of which have been written by men. Concluding chapters deal with new research on black Americans and the women of Africa. Selected bibliography. All levels."-Choice
?Morton is a major figure in the revisionist history of African American women. Morton thoroughly reviews the depiction of black women in historical writing and in the literature of the other social sciences, from the 19th century to the present. She finds a mostly negative portrait, e.g., sexual promiscuity, poor mothering, matriarchal pathology, and emasculating dominance of African American males. The partial exception to the negative image is the stereotyped white portrait of the tough, jolly, warm black Mammy so popular in the movies and on pancake boxes. Sexism is mixed with racism in the black woman's portrait. The list of authors, white and black, accepting these stereotyped images in whole or in part reads like a who's who of American social science: Robert Park, Daniel Moynihan, Nathan Glazer, Eugene Genovese, E. Franklin Frazier, Charles Johnson, Kenneth Stampp, Stanley Elkins, Thomas Pettigrew, and Abraham Kardiner. Morton presents a detailed analysis of how, and to a lesser extent why, these negative images of African American women have predominated in social science articles and books, almost all of which have been written by men. Concluding chapters deal with new research on black Americans and the women of Africa. Selected bibliography. All levels.?-Choice

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