Black Venus 2010 by Deborah Willis
They Called Her "Hottentot"

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As a young South African woman of about twenty, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called "Hottentot Venus," was brought to London and placed on exhibit in 1810. Clad in the Victorian equivalent of a body stocking, and paraded through the streets and on stage in a cage she became a human spectacle in London and Paris. Baartman's distinctive physique became the object of ridicule, curiosity, scientific inquiry, and desire until and after her premature death. The figure of Sarah Baartman was reduced to her sexual parts. Black Venus 2010 traces Baartman's memory in our collective histories, as well as her symbolic history in the construction and identity of black women as artists, performers, and icons. The wide-ranging essays, poems, and images in Black Venus 2010 represent some of the most compelling responses to Baartman. Each one grapples with the enduring legacy of this young African woman who forever remains a touchstone for black women. Contributors include: Elizabeth Alexander, Holly Bass, Petrushka A Bazin, William Jelani Cobb, Lisa Gail Collins, Renee Cox, J. Yolande Daniels, Carole Boyce Davies, Leon de Wailly, Manthia Diawara, Diana Ferrus, Cheryl Finley, Nikky Finney, Kianga K.
Ford, Terri Francis, Sander Gilman, Renee Green, Joy Gregory, Lyle Ashton Harris, Michael D. Harris, Linda Susan Jackson, Kellie Jones, Roshini Kempadoo, Simone Leigh, Zine Magubane, E. Ethelbert Miller, Robin Mitchell, Charmaine Nelson, Tracey Rose, Radcliffe Roye, Bernadette Searle, Lorna Simpson, Debra S. Singer, Penny Siopis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Michele Wallace, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, J. T. Zealy, and the editor.

About Deborah Willis

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Deborah Willis is a University Professor and chair of the Photography and Imaging Department in the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences.  Willis is a Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur Fellow, as well as a recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation award. Willis is a photographer and curator of African American culture.  Her publications include Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs, The Black Female Body A Photographic History with Carla Williams (Temple); and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present.
Published January 28, 2010 by Temple University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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During her period of fame and exploitation, she was known as the “Hottentot Venus.” Willis (Posing Beauty ) offers a comprehensive, inclusive, and coherently organized anthology that embraces “scholarly and lyrical, historical and reflexive” responses to Baartman, as a woman, as a black woman, as...

Jan 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Black Venus 2010: They Called...

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