CAHSS Faculty Articles

In My Own Words: Andrea Elizabeth Shaw

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Geoffrey Philp Blog Spot

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My book The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies is a project that grew out of my long term interest in the cultural perception of large, black women’s bodies. Growing up as a fat black girl in Jamaica, I loved books and reading, and I always wondered why there were so few characters that looked like me amidst all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels that I voraciously consumed. When characters that even vaguely reminded me of myself, and I do mean vaguely such as Nancy’s black male butler (or was it her chauffeur?), turned up on the page, I read oh so closely to see what the world’s literary imagine was of me, or at least some aspect of my identity. By the time I began my recent book project, it was clear to me what question I wanted to answer: How is the large black woman represented in both literary and popular venues? How is she perceived? How do her race, size and gender intersect in her representation?

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