Title

Say make me, remake me : exposing and subverting negative racial sterotypes in the works of Toni Morrison and Carrie Mae Weems

Abstract

Emerging from a tradition of African American artists whose central concern was the psychological need for realistic and positive portrayals of their communities, the works of Nobel-laureate Toni Morrison and documentary photographer Carrie Mae Weems are engaged in a process of African American identity restoration. Both Morrison and Weems are interested in deconstructing and systematically challenging conventions of representation that perpetuate stereotypical images of Blackness. They are committed to reestablishing African American subjectivity and depicting the variety and richness of African American life. Attempting to subvert essentializing stereotypical discourse, which claims to delineate the African American experience through rigid and reductive iconography, Morrison and Weems further undermine the politics of artistic representation, historically controlled by White-dominated media institutions. Both Morrison and Weems are concerned with exposing the pathology that exists in a society that creates and disseminates pejorative, dehumanizing images of African Americans. Not only do stereotypical icons threaten African American identity construction but also, if internalized, they have the potential to create a more destructive phenomenon---interracial prejudice-which threatens the very foundation of African American communities and problematizes racial identification. The art of Toni Morrison and Carrie Mae Weems is therapeutic, attempting reparations by offering positive, nurturing sources for African American identity construction. Furthermore, by incorporating similar themes, imagery, and stylistic approaches, they demonstrate that literature and art are collaborative and mutually effective genres for social revolution.

Notes

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Thesis Completion

2001

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Davidson, Adenike M.

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Degree Program

English

Subjects

Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences;African American aesthetics;African Americans -- Race identity;Morrison, Toni -- Criticism and interpretation;Weems, Carrie Mae -- 1953- -- Criticism and interpretation

Format

Print

Identifier

DP0021679

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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