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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/w83a-tq76


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Translating the Violent Field: Blackness, Black Women, and Ethnographic Practice



gender violence


The discipline of anthropology and its practitioners have long sought to interface with people and populations of African descent•and have sought to define the constitution of Blackness itself•within and without Africa. In response, Irma McLaurin posits black feminist anthropology as an intervention, one that “interrupts/disrupts the elitist, sexist, racist dynamics” of anthropological knowledge production (2001: 2). McLaurin conceptualizes the mediation of knowledge to occur between white and black researchers, but what happens to this mediation, when the researcher and the researched upon both live under blackness’ sign? The problem space of this panel is what black critic/theorist Hortense Spillers calls the “intramural”: the relations among those racialized as black that emerge from “what happens when messages that originate elsewhere are assumed as a symptom of one’s own becoming” (Spillers 2018: 26). The papers on this panel each tinged with ambivalence, and each authored by a black woman explores the tension between the hermeneutic demands of blackness and the embodied experiences of black women to ask pressing questions about the imbrication of violence and care that produce conditions of black life (and black death). We attend to age, ability, gender, sexuality, and class as units of analysis and spaces of rupture and relation in the intramural. Drawing from our own ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa and the United States, we explore the what “truths” of the black experience-- are lost/mystified or recovered/translated through a black feminist mediation.


Transcript English (automatic)

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