Cover for Anderson: Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama. Click for larger image

Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama

An enlightening study of feminism in the work of seven black playwrights

In tracing black feminism in contemporary drama authored by black women, Lisa M. Anderson analyzes plays by Pearl Cleage, Glenda Dickerson, Breena Clarke, Kia Corthron, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sharon Bridgforth, and Shirlene Holmes. Representing a cross section of women who have diverse writing and performance styles and generational differences, Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama highlights the artistic and political breadth of black feminist theater. While investigating the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation in twenty-first-century plays, Anderson provides a historical overview of the development of black feminism--in drama, poetry, and fiction--since the nineteenth century. Whether then or now, black feminism has engaged with issues such as rape, social justice, victimization, abortion, stereotyping, racism, and violence.

This enlightening study of modern black feminist theatre aesthetic not only discusses what shapes the black feminism of these playwrights but also points out how the meaning of the term black feminism shifts among them. In constructing this aesthetic, Anderson examines current issues such as welfare, lesbianism, teen pregnancy, and gang violence. Anderson's analysis also includes a close investigation of each play's creation and the context of its production, including how the play critiques, shifts, or alters dominant culture stereotypes; how it positions goals of the "community"; and how it engages with the concept of art's function.

"The present volume probes a large sample of the dramatic literature and therefore achieves a deeper inquiry. . . . Recommended."--Choice

“Enormously valuable for its range of playwrights. . . . With its focus on texts and intertextuality, the contributors maintain a blend of criticism, cultural history, and theatre history.”--Theatre Survey

"A stimulating reading that weaves together black feminist theater and black women's histories."--SIGNS

"The riveting selections in Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama cover what is going on in African American women's drama today. The volume pays close attention to topics of race, class, gender, and sexuality, while raising issues that are critical to many contemporary debates: black women's health, representation, and gender objectification. An accessible and informative read that is a welcome addition to drama studies, American literature, and African American literature."--Valerie Lee, editor of The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature

"Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama lays out carefully and clearly the elements needed for a black feminist aesthetic and begins the journey toward conjoining black women's plays and performance pieces with black feminist cultural scholarship in multiple disciplines. Expanding the canon of black feminist cultural analysis in valuable ways, Anderson selects truly worthwhile and timely plays that will find resonance with feminist, literature, and drama students and scholars."--Jacqueline Bobo, author of Black Women as Cultural Readers

Lisa M. Anderson is an associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University and the author of Mammies No More: The Changing Image of Black Women on Stage and Screen.

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