Private lives, proper relations: Regulating black intimacy

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Private Lives, Proper Relations begins with the question of why contemporary African American literature—particularly that produced by black women—is continually concerned with issues of respectability and propriety. Candice M. Jenkins argues that this preoccupation has its origins in recurrent ideologies about African American sexuality, and that it expresses a fundamental aspect of the racial self—an often unarticulated link between the intimate and the political in black culture.

In a counterpoint to her paradigmatic reading of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Jenkins’s analysis of black women’s narratives—including Ann Petry’s The Street, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Paradise, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Gayl Jones’s Eva’s Man—offers a theory of black subjectivity. Here Jenkins describes middle-class attempts to rescue the black community from accusations of sexual and domestic deviance by embracing bourgeois respectability, and asserts that behind those efforts there is the “doubled vulnerability” of the black intimate subject. Rather than reflecting a DuBoisian tension between race and nation, to Jenkins this vulnerability signifies for the African American an opposition between two poles of potential exposure: racial scrutiny and the proximity of human intimacy.

Scholars of African American culture acknowledge that intimacy and sexuality are taboo subjects among African Americans precisely because black intimate character has been pathologized. Private Lives, Proper Relations is a powerful contribution to the crucial effort to end the distortion still surrounding black intimacy in the United States.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationMinneapolis, Mn
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Print)9780816647880, 9780816647873
StatePublished - 2007

Fingerprint

Intimacy
Private Life
African Americans
Vulnerability
Respectability
Sexuality
Taboo
Proximity
Counterpoint
Fundamental
Black Culture
Toni Morrison
Sexual
Scrutiny
Middle Class
Alice Walker
Rescue
African-American Culture
Paradigmatics
Subjectivity

Cite this

Jenkins, C. M. (2007). Private lives, proper relations: Regulating black intimacy. Minneapolis, Mn: University of Minnesota Press.

Private lives, proper relations : Regulating black intimacy. / Jenkins, Candice M.

Minneapolis, Mn : University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 240 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Jenkins, CM 2007, Private lives, proper relations: Regulating black intimacy. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Mn.
Jenkins CM. Private lives, proper relations: Regulating black intimacy. Minneapolis, Mn: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 240 p.
Jenkins, Candice M. / Private lives, proper relations : Regulating black intimacy. Minneapolis, Mn : University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 240 p.
@book{22ececb2216b4d11a1b5bc4d7bdc917f,
title = "Private lives, proper relations: Regulating black intimacy",
abstract = "Private Lives, Proper Relations begins with the question of why contemporary African American literature—particularly that produced by black women—is continually concerned with issues of respectability and propriety. Candice M. Jenkins argues that this preoccupation has its origins in recurrent ideologies about African American sexuality, and that it expresses a fundamental aspect of the racial self—an often unarticulated link between the intimate and the political in black culture.In a counterpoint to her paradigmatic reading of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Jenkins’s analysis of black women’s narratives—including Ann Petry’s The Street, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Paradise, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Gayl Jones’s Eva’s Man—offers a theory of black subjectivity. Here Jenkins describes middle-class attempts to rescue the black community from accusations of sexual and domestic deviance by embracing bourgeois respectability, and asserts that behind those efforts there is the “doubled vulnerability” of the black intimate subject. Rather than reflecting a DuBoisian tension between race and nation, to Jenkins this vulnerability signifies for the African American an opposition between two poles of potential exposure: racial scrutiny and the proximity of human intimacy.Scholars of African American culture acknowledge that intimacy and sexuality are taboo subjects among African Americans precisely because black intimate character has been pathologized. Private Lives, Proper Relations is a powerful contribution to the crucial effort to end the distortion still surrounding black intimacy in the United States.",
author = "Jenkins, {Candice M}",
year = "2007",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780816647880",
publisher = "University of Minnesota Press",

}

TY - BOOK

T1 - Private lives, proper relations

T2 - Regulating black intimacy

AU - Jenkins, Candice M

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Private Lives, Proper Relations begins with the question of why contemporary African American literature—particularly that produced by black women—is continually concerned with issues of respectability and propriety. Candice M. Jenkins argues that this preoccupation has its origins in recurrent ideologies about African American sexuality, and that it expresses a fundamental aspect of the racial self—an often unarticulated link between the intimate and the political in black culture.In a counterpoint to her paradigmatic reading of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Jenkins’s analysis of black women’s narratives—including Ann Petry’s The Street, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Paradise, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Gayl Jones’s Eva’s Man—offers a theory of black subjectivity. Here Jenkins describes middle-class attempts to rescue the black community from accusations of sexual and domestic deviance by embracing bourgeois respectability, and asserts that behind those efforts there is the “doubled vulnerability” of the black intimate subject. Rather than reflecting a DuBoisian tension between race and nation, to Jenkins this vulnerability signifies for the African American an opposition between two poles of potential exposure: racial scrutiny and the proximity of human intimacy.Scholars of African American culture acknowledge that intimacy and sexuality are taboo subjects among African Americans precisely because black intimate character has been pathologized. Private Lives, Proper Relations is a powerful contribution to the crucial effort to end the distortion still surrounding black intimacy in the United States.

AB - Private Lives, Proper Relations begins with the question of why contemporary African American literature—particularly that produced by black women—is continually concerned with issues of respectability and propriety. Candice M. Jenkins argues that this preoccupation has its origins in recurrent ideologies about African American sexuality, and that it expresses a fundamental aspect of the racial self—an often unarticulated link between the intimate and the political in black culture.In a counterpoint to her paradigmatic reading of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Jenkins’s analysis of black women’s narratives—including Ann Petry’s The Street, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Paradise, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Gayl Jones’s Eva’s Man—offers a theory of black subjectivity. Here Jenkins describes middle-class attempts to rescue the black community from accusations of sexual and domestic deviance by embracing bourgeois respectability, and asserts that behind those efforts there is the “doubled vulnerability” of the black intimate subject. Rather than reflecting a DuBoisian tension between race and nation, to Jenkins this vulnerability signifies for the African American an opposition between two poles of potential exposure: racial scrutiny and the proximity of human intimacy.Scholars of African American culture acknowledge that intimacy and sexuality are taboo subjects among African Americans precisely because black intimate character has been pathologized. Private Lives, Proper Relations is a powerful contribution to the crucial effort to end the distortion still surrounding black intimacy in the United States.

UR - http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/81252825

M3 - Book

SN - 9780816647880

SN - 9780816647873

BT - Private lives, proper relations

PB - University of Minnesota Press

CY - Minneapolis, Mn

ER -