Exploring the Black Venus Figure in Aesthetic Practices


Exploring the Black Venus Figure in Aesthetic Practices critically examines a longstanding colonial fascination with the black female body as an object of sexual desire, envy, and anxiety. Since the 2002 repatriation of the remains of Sara Baartman to post-apartheid South Africa, the interest in the figure of Black Venus has skyrocketed, making her a key symbol for the restoration of the racialized female body in feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial terms.

Edited by Jorunn Gjerden, Kari Jegerstedt, and Željka Švrljuga, this volume considers Black Venus as a product of art established and potentially refigured through aesthetic practices, following her travels through different periods, geographies and art forms from Baudelaire to Kara Walker, and from the Caribbean to Scandinavia.

Contributors: Kjersti Aarstein, Carmen Birkle, Jorunn Svensen Gjerden, Kari Jegerstedt, Ulla Angkjær Jørgensen, Ljubica Matek, Margery Vibe Skagen, Camilla Erichsen Skalle, Željka Švrljuga.

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Jorunn S. Gjerden is an independent researcher of French literature who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship thematizing Sara Baartman. Her publications include articles and a monograph on ethics and aesthetics, modernist literature, performativity, and postcoloniality.

Kari Jegerstedt is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at the University of Bergen. She has published several articles and edited volumes on gender and feminist theory, postcolonialism, psychoanalysis and Scandinavian, British and South-African Literature.

Željka Švrljuga is Professor of American Literature at the University of Bergen. She has published a number of articles and a monograph on the aesthetics of suffering and essays on African American and Caribbean literature.
This collection is targeted at scholars, graduate students and general audiences with an interest in current cultural-political and aesthetic reassessments of historical constructions of sexualized and racialized female bodies.
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