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The essays gathered in this volume deal with representations of blackness and the performance of black identities in various historically determined societal contexts of the Americas, Benin, and Spain. The book is grounded on the premise that representations constitute, in part, the world in which we live. An important aspect of the struggles of dominated people consists in more or less overtly challenging, manipulating, combatting, negating, and sometimes inverting representations of themselves reproduced in the dominant discourse of their national society. The contributors approach various forms of blackness within the fluctuation of political, economic, and social processes embedded in particular time/space contexts, which are constituted within local, regional, national, and transnational dimensions.
Identities, whatever they may be, cannot be defined once and for all in fixed or essentialist terms as if they were unchanging or frozen in time and space. If, as this book proposes, identities are fluid, it is because they are constantly enacted and reenacted, performed anew within specific situations, and within changing socioeconomic and political contexts that provide sites for their negotiations and renegotiations, definitions and redefinitions. Thus, the book approaches black identities as performances.
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