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Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination

by Darieck Scott

Challenging the conception of empowerment associated with the Black Power Movement and its political and intellectual legacies in the present, Darieck Scott contends that power can be found not only in martial resistance, but, surprisingly, where the black body has been inflicted with harm or humiliation.Theorizing the relation between blackness and abjection by foregrounding often neglected depictions of the sexual exploitation and humiliation of men in works by James Weldon Johnson, Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, and Samuel R. Delany, Extravagant Abjection asks: If we're racialized through domination and abjection, what is the political, personal, and psychological potential in racialization-through-abjection? Using the figure of male rape as a lens through which to examine this question, Scott argues that blackness in relation to abjection endows its inheritors with a form of counter-intuitive power--indeed, what can be thought of as a revised notion of black power. This power is found at the point at which ego, identity, body, race, and nation seem to reveal themselves as utterly penetrated and compromised, without defensible boundary. Yet in Extravagant Abjection, "power" assumes an unexpected and paradoxical form.In arguing that blackness endows its inheritors with a surprising form of counter-intuitive power--as a resource for the political present--found at the very point of violation, Extravagant Abjection enriches our understanding of the construction of black male identity.

Phallos: Enhanced and Revised Edition

by Samuel R. Delany Darieck Scott Steven Shapiro Robert F. Reid-Pharr Kenneth James

Phallos is a 2004 novel by acclaimed novelist and critic, Samuel R. Delany. Taking the form of a gay pornographic novel, only with the explicit sex omitted, Phallos is set during the reign of the second century Roman Emperor Hadrian, and circles around the historical account of the murder of the emperor's young lover, Antinous. The story moves from Syracuse to Egypt, from the Pillars of Hercules to Rome, from Athens to Byzantium, and back. Young Neoptolomus searches after the stolen phallos of the nameless god of Hermopolis, crafted of gold and encrusted with jewels, within which are reputedly the ancient secrets of science and society that will lead to power, knowledge, and wealth. Vivid and clever, the original novella has been expanded by nearly a third. As well, editor Robert Reid-Pharr has appended to the text an afterword and three astute speculative essays by Steven Shapiro, Kenneth James, and Darieck Scott.

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