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Postindustrial Futurities in Contemporary Black Feminist Theater: Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew, and Lisa Langford’s The Art of Longing

Postindustrial Futurities in Contemporary Black Feminist Theater: Lynn Nottage’s Sweat,... <p>Abstract:</p><p>This article takes up the turn to the postindustrial working class in recent and celebrated African American women’s theater: Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize–winning <i>Sweat</i> (2015), Dominique Morisseau’s <i>Skeleton Crew</i> (2016), and Lisa Langford’s <i>The Art of Longing</i> (2017). These Black feminist plays at once predict and confront the two racialized narratives of US deindustrialization that emerged with force around the 2016 presidential election: the first, a tale of a white American heartland whose future had been jeopardized by economic restructuring; and the second, that of a depopulated yet also Black-inhabited space of death inherently devoid of all productive futurity, a ghetto, a slum, a no-place. Morisseau, Langford, and Nottage participate in what Patricia Hill Collins terms “Black feminist standpoint epistemology,” which exposes how the racialization of US labor is inextricable from its formations of class, gender, and sexuality. By commemorating the difficult labor of industry and women’s reproductive labor, contemporary Black feminist drama celebrates affective attachments between Black, queer, and trans characters, reworking an elegy for a dying white working class into a Black feminist exploration of the intersectional dimensions of race, gender, class, and national belonging. These dramas stage what Christina Sharpe has called “living in the wake” of the afterlives of slavery, staging moments of quotidian kin and care work that testify to living in and living against a time and space of the purportedly <i>post</i>industrial, a temporal ordering that consigns industrial laborers to a murky and derelict past.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

Postindustrial Futurities in Contemporary Black Feminist Theater: Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew, and Lisa Langford’s The Art of Longing

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies , Volume 42 (1) – May 5, 2021

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Frontiers Editorial Collective, Inc
ISSN
1536-0334

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This article takes up the turn to the postindustrial working class in recent and celebrated African American women’s theater: Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize–winning <i>Sweat</i> (2015), Dominique Morisseau’s <i>Skeleton Crew</i> (2016), and Lisa Langford’s <i>The Art of Longing</i> (2017). These Black feminist plays at once predict and confront the two racialized narratives of US deindustrialization that emerged with force around the 2016 presidential election: the first, a tale of a white American heartland whose future had been jeopardized by economic restructuring; and the second, that of a depopulated yet also Black-inhabited space of death inherently devoid of all productive futurity, a ghetto, a slum, a no-place. Morisseau, Langford, and Nottage participate in what Patricia Hill Collins terms “Black feminist standpoint epistemology,” which exposes how the racialization of US labor is inextricable from its formations of class, gender, and sexuality. By commemorating the difficult labor of industry and women’s reproductive labor, contemporary Black feminist drama celebrates affective attachments between Black, queer, and trans characters, reworking an elegy for a dying white working class into a Black feminist exploration of the intersectional dimensions of race, gender, class, and national belonging. These dramas stage what Christina Sharpe has called “living in the wake” of the afterlives of slavery, staging moments of quotidian kin and care work that testify to living in and living against a time and space of the purportedly <i>post</i>industrial, a temporal ordering that consigns industrial laborers to a murky and derelict past.</p>

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: May 5, 2021

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