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Navigating Multiple IdentitiesRace, Gender, Culture, Nationality, and Roles$
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Ruthellen Josselson and Michele Harway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732074.001.0001

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“I Am More (Than Just) Black”

“I Am More (Than Just) Black”

Contesting Multiplicity Through Conferring and Asserting Singularity in Narratives of Blackness

Chapter:
(p.143) 9 “I Am More (Than Just) Black”
Source:
Navigating Multiple Identities
Author(s):

Siyanda Ndlovu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732074.003.0009

This chapter focuses on the multiplicity of possible black identities as improvised in various contexts where historical and geographical particularities play themselves out in different ways. Racial identifications and differences are shown to be a process of improvisation in which the other aspects of identity are clearly simultaneously at play. The chapter particularly explores the ways in which blackness articulates or possibly conflicts with gendered and national identities and traces some of the ways in which histories of oppression and the place of Africa in the social imaginary may be at work. Paradoxically, these multiplicities of identity are made apparent in moments of singularity, in which black identity is made the most prominent or most salient dimension of identity. These moments of singularity are empirically elaborated through the narratives of three black women in different contexts. The conferral of singularity by the Other has its roots in, and serves to entrench, racism. Conversely, the assertion of such singularity by individuals about and for themselves may serve strategic purposes of resistance and create connections across other forms of difference.

Keywords:   conferral, assertion, singularity, embodiment, improvisation, narrative, interpellation, blackness, gender, nationality, place

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