Wed, Jan 08 | Modern Language Association 21 Convention

MLA Session 212 - Black Queer Feelings

When I Get That Feeling: Erotic QueerCrip Spiritualities in Black Feminist Writing
MLA Session 212 - Black Queer Feelings

Time & Location

Jan 08, 2025, 9:15 AM CST
Modern Language Association 21 Convention

About the Event

In Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality (2018), Jennifer C. Nash argues that academic Black feminism is a discipline of affect, namely defensiveness. In this paper, I want to consider other Black feminist affects, specifically those that emerge in Black feminist texts invested in healing, queer sexualities, and syncretic spiritual systems of the African diaspora. Using Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic” as a theoretical frame, with consideration of her illness’s impact on her writing, as well as intervention in crip studies, I analyze cripqueer sex in Alice Walker’s By the Light of My Father’s Smile and the Gospel of Shug across the The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy trilogy. These texts imagine healing and illness as erotic in that they merge eroticized queer disabled flesh back in with spiritual, particularly syncretic Africanist religions, and locate that flesh as a deeply affective site of liberation. This, I argue is a cripqueer spirituality of the erotic that underscores Nash’s argument that Black feminism is affective but explores other points of emotionality within Black feminist writing.

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