Black feminist thought has been a resource for empowerment language and creative disruption, used for personal and political transformation. Hortense Spillers’s essay “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” (2006) is an exemplar of this tradition: an analysis of the Black woman in cultures, histories, and literatures, the essay calls for insurgency and monstrosity to break apart the constraints of gender so that human subjects can move more freely in unbounded, social space. Spillers described this necessary work as reconfiguring, a word that productively suggests shaping and forming—necessarily again and again—and applicable to the notion that feminisms are many and varied. Building on Spillers’ enduring insights, this conversation will explore the labor of Black feminist artists to create new vocabulary that imagines the human beyond the constraints of heteronormative white supremacy.
Presented by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
Featuring: Courtney Desiree Morris, Jacqueline Francis, and Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle.