Black Venus 2010: They Called Her "Hottentot" by Deborah Willis

By Deborah Willis

As a tender South African lady of approximately twenty, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called 'Hottentot Venus', used to be dropped at London and put on convey in 1810. Clad within the Victorian an identical of a physique stocking, and paraded throughout the streets and on level in a cage she turned a human spectacle in London and Paris. Baartman's detailed body turned the item of ridicule, interest, medical inquiry, and wish till and after her untimely dying. The determine of Sarah Baartman used to be diminished to her sexual elements. "Black Venus 2010" strains Baartman's reminiscence in our collective histories, in addition to her symbolic heritage within the development and identification of black ladies as artists, performers, and icons. The wide-ranging essays, poems, and pictures in "Black Venus 2010" symbolize one of the most compelling responses to Baartman. each grapples with the long-lasting legacy of this younger African lady who endlessly continues to be a touchstone for black ladies. individuals contain: Elizabeth Alexander, Holly Bass, Petrushka A Bazin, William Jelani Cobb, Lisa Gail Collins, Renee Cox, J. Yolande Daniels, Carole Boyce Davies, Leon de Wailly, Manthia Diawara, Diana Ferrus, Cheryl Finley, Nikky Finney, Kianga okay. Ford, Terri Francis, Sander Gilman, Renee eco-friendly, pleasure Gregory, Lyle Ashton Harris, Michael D. Harris, Linda Susan Jackson, Kellie Jones, Roshini Kempadoo, Simone Leigh, Zine Magubane, E. Ethelbert Miller, Robin Mitchell, Charmaine Nelson, Tracey Rose, Radcliffe Roye, Bernadette Searle, Lorna Simpson, Debra S. Singer, Penny Siopis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Michele Wallace, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, J. T. Zealy, and the editor.

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Extra resources for Black Venus 2010: They Called Her "Hottentot"

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Flower and James Murie, “Account of the Dissertation of a Bushwoman,” Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 1 (1867): 189–208; Hubert von Luschka, A. Koch, and E. Görtz, “Die äusseren geschlechtstheile eines Buschweibes,” Monatsschrift für Geburtskunde 32 (1868): 343–350. The popularity of these accounts is attested by their republication (in extract) in The Anthropological Review (London), which was aimed at a lay audience (5 [1867]: 316–324, and 8 [1870]: 89–318). These extracts also stress the sexual anomalies described.

Adolph and Amelia marry, and interracial coupling is thus prevented. In his acceptance of Amelia, Adolph resumes his proper role as patriarch, while Amelia returns to her proper domestic role and her public persona, albeit as one who can reincarnate herself as the exotic and wild Hottentot woman in private. In this way, the play serves to both unsettle and reaffirm racial and gender categories. Bartmann exacerbated these anxieties while she, because of her race and gender, simultaneously provided an outlet for the articulation of those very same tensions.

56 It is thus the innate fear of the Other’s different anatomy which lies behind the synthesis of images. The Other’s pathology is revealed in her anatomy, and the black and the prostitute are both bearers of the stigmata of sexual difference and thus pathology. 57 The “white man’s burden,” thus becomes his sexuality and its control, is displaced into the need to control the sexuality of the Other, the Other as sexualized female. For the colonial mentality that sees “natives” as needing control easily shifts that concern to the woman, in particular the prostitute caste.

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