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English/DAAS Faculty Candidate Job Talk
The Departments of Afroamerican & African Studies and English Language & Literature
Present a Job Talk by
University of California - Berkeley
Daughters, Mothers, and Queens:
The Role of Sexuality, Strength, and Image in Defining Barbadian “Woman Power”
Thursday, February 21, 2013
4701 Haven Hall
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On a small island in the Caribbean young daughters grow to become mothers navigating a complicated maze of sexuality, respectability, and self-identification. Whether they birth children or perform the roles of nurturer, teacher, and matriarch in other ways, the well-being of this island nation relies on the mythical “super-strength” of its women. Tracing popular discourse from literary figures to musical icons I investigate the circumstances under which Barbadian women create their own images and the socio-cultural landscape in which they are received. Using the works of popular Barbadian literary figures, memoirs, and historical studies, this talk makes three arguments: 1) that Barbadian society reveres women as mothers and caretakers and at the same time reviles them as “naturally” manipulative beings; 2) that motherhood validates female sexuality within the public eye; and 3) that Barbadian girls and women are socialized to negotiate their own public images as they grow into womanhood. Coming from a larger project that investigates the gendered performances of popular musicians as representatives of the Barbadian nation, I show a shift in perceptions of womanhood and women’s power in the decades surrounding Barbadian independence in an effort to contextualize a more contemporary model of women as “queens,” a discourse that is epitomized by popular performer and “Soca Queen,” Alison Hinds.
Lia is a candidate for a joint faculty position in the Department of English
Language & Literature and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies.
Location: 4701 Haven Hall