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The Specter of the Blackamoor: Figuring Africa and the Orient

The Specter of the Blackamoor: Figuring Africa and the Orient Ella Shohat The Specter of the Blackamoor Figuring Africa and the Orient To speak of the Blackamoor figure is to speak of several intertwined imaginaries, especially along the East/West and North/South double geographical axis. A hy- brid of the African Black and the Muslim Moor, the Blackamoor figure condenses representations oen co ft nceptualized in isolation within the compartmentalized cartographies of the various Area Studies. Scrutiny of the Blackamoor, in this sense, helps shed light on forgotten discursive continuities as well as on historical connectivities across continents and oceans; in this case, those operating along the winding Mediterranean shores of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Manufactured in European workshops, the Blackamoor can on one level be analyzed as part of an ornamental art that reflects various aesthetic tendencies while also reflecting the taste of its producers and consumers. On another level, the Blackamoor can be ex- amined critically, as a stereotypical imaging of the racialized and gendered Black body. Here, however, I will pose a different set of questions: Can the putatively re- assuring and domesticated Blackamoor also be viewed as a visual manifestation of an ongoing European anxiety about its “others?” Might this image of Blackamoor docility testify indirectly http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Specter of the Blackamoor: Figuring Africa and the Orient

The Comparatist , Volume 42 – Nov 19, 2018

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Ella Shohat The Specter of the Blackamoor Figuring Africa and the Orient To speak of the Blackamoor figure is to speak of several intertwined imaginaries, especially along the East/West and North/South double geographical axis. A hy- brid of the African Black and the Muslim Moor, the Blackamoor figure condenses representations oen co ft nceptualized in isolation within the compartmentalized cartographies of the various Area Studies. Scrutiny of the Blackamoor, in this sense, helps shed light on forgotten discursive continuities as well as on historical connectivities across continents and oceans; in this case, those operating along the winding Mediterranean shores of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Manufactured in European workshops, the Blackamoor can on one level be analyzed as part of an ornamental art that reflects various aesthetic tendencies while also reflecting the taste of its producers and consumers. On another level, the Blackamoor can be ex- amined critically, as a stereotypical imaging of the racialized and gendered Black body. Here, however, I will pose a different set of questions: Can the putatively re- assuring and domesticated Blackamoor also be viewed as a visual manifestation of an ongoing European anxiety about its “others?” Might this image of Blackamoor docility testify indirectly

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 19, 2018

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