Sexual Discourses of Political Reform of the Post-Reconstruction Era


in Domestic Allegories of Political Desire

Published in print September 1996 | ISBN: 9780195108576
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855094 | DOI:
Sexual Discourses of Political Reform of the Post-Reconstruction Era

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The next three chapters deal with several strategies that the black women writers of the post-reconstruction era used to analyze the social affairs of their communities. In this chapter, the racialized discourse of manhood is analyzed in the books of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and William E. B. Du Bois. On the other hand, the corresponding discourse of womanhood is tackled in the works of Anna Cooper and Gertrude Mossell. With the latter works, domesticity becomes a site of female political negotiation, and the heroine is considered as a self-authorized political agent. In this chapter, black manhood and womanhood are looked at as racial and political signifiers of citizenship. Literary interventionism, the domestic heroine and black bourgeois individuation, and centering the heroine’s virtue are also discussed.

Keywords: sexual discourse; manhood; womanhood; domestic heroine; domesticity; literary interventionism; bourgeois individuation

Chapter.  12373 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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