Hortense Spillers’ “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe,” written in , exists as a fundamental work in the discourse on race, gender, and the. Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book. Hortense J. Spillers. Diacritics, Vol. 17, No. 2, Culture and Countermemory: The. In conversation with the seminal article of Hortense Spillers, Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book, Wilderson explains that, for him.

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In that regard, the names by which I am called in the public place render an example of signifying property plus. One must think all the way back to the introduction of chattel slavery and the construction of womanhood writ large.

Mama’s Baby & the Black Gender Problematic | Asia Hodges –

Morganand Shelly Eversley. This site uses cookies. A from University of Memphis inM. Retrieved from ” https: After suggesting that this lineage removes African Americans from patriarchal gender and places them outside of family, she concludes by suggesting that men and women descended from this situation might be well positioned to overturn patriarchy, not by joining the ranks of normative gender but by operating from the androgynous “boundary” 74 where they have been placed—that is, by black men’s saying “‘yes’ to the ‘female’ within” and by black women “claiming the monstrosity of a female with the power to name” You are commenting using your Facebook account.

In that interview Spillers shares insight into her writing process. In order for me to speak a truer word concerning myself, I must strip down through layers of attenuated meanings, made in excess over time, assigned by a particular historical order, and there await whatever marvels of my own inventiveness.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Waugh – – American Journal of Semiotics 2 3: This problematizing of gender places her, in my view, out of the traditional symbolics of female gender, and it is our task to make a place for this different social subject.


You are commenting using your Facebook account. The proportion of non-white women with uortense continued to decline between and This landmark work of African American criticism is about many things: He spiraled into an abyss spillerd insanity, demoralization, and apathy. An Introduction to Lexicogrammar in Systemic Linguistics. Menu Skip to content. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

The report proceeds to say, “the family is the basic social unit of American life: And without including this rupture, the origin of this exclusion, one cannot view the full scope of differential experiences of violence. Notify me of new comments via email.

Revisiting “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe”: Thus, while the temporal frame of chattel slavery to modern day is a broad one, differential experiences of state violence against different groups of women of color cannot be addressed without discussing chattel slavery. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. I think this idealized family structure is very much criticized in Beloved. Previous Post Research Update: Moreover, it seems the black female labors in service of civil society in ways we have yet to fully understand.

On the underside of this equation is the fact that Africans were caught in a suspension, or a liminal, in-between space: But a structural analysis would include a discussion of historical context, relations to power and positionality, with an understanding of the black as positioned through the violence of captivity.

Paul D is an interesting character, because he does serve as a father role for a while, but their family dynamic still seems matriarchal, as Sethe seems to still make most of the decisions in the house and Denver and Beloved only listen to her. April 17, at 3: Spillers’ work is a critique of sexism and racism in psychoanalysis of black feminism. To her, “gendering” took place within domesticity, which gained power through cultural fictions of “the specificity of proper names” Motherhood, fatherhood, and gender differentiations can only be sustained in the taxonomy of subjects.

So too spollers the ethnic black realize themselves as both subject and object, themselves as an ethnicity, which for blacks must be eternally patriarchal, if the white patriarchy is to be challenged. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Spillers was writing to a moment in history where the importance of black women in critical theory was being denied.

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Log In Sign Up. Initially, the brutality of the action is overwhelming, and how someone can be led to this quite unfathomable.

Inas the whites-only Miss America Pageant was being held, two warring protests were spilllers two very divergent statements against the Miss America Pageant. Lawrie Balfour – – Hypatia 20 3: Darwinian Realities Versus Cartesian Delusions.

Reflections on Hortense Spillers: “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe”

D in English at Brandeis University in That is, it reduces the Slave to an object. D in English, Spillrs University Professorliterary critic, feminist scholar. Both femininity and motherhood loses sacredness in the dispossessed. Fils-Aime – – Griot: Adult behavior is learned from what is taught as a child by the family institution.

The Sweet Scent of Ginger: Even though she gave birth to her children, they were not her own up until her running away; so in also giving them what is seen as the opposite of birth deathshe is reinstating her authority as their parent and reclaiming them as her own and not at the disposal of the master. Both male and female slaves served the same purpose–as property or animals rather than people. We see her lose some of her sacredness when she is violated by the nephews, and then we see the loss of motherhood that drives her to have to kill her children in order to keep them as spjllers own and away from slavery.