Hortense Spillers’ “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe,” written in , exists as a fundamental work in the discourse on race, gender, and the. Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book. Hortense J. Spillers. Diacritics, Vol. 17, No. 2, Culture and Countermemory: The. In conversation with the seminal article of Hortense Spillers, Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book, Wilderson explains that, for him.

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David Morley – – Continuum. She wrote with a sense of urgency in order to create a theoretical taxonomy for black women to be studied in the academy.

Hortense Spiller’s Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: an American Grammar Book | Kawika Guillermo

Retrieved from ” https: Sillers to main content. How is she distinctively invoking signifying here? However, the problem is not that we do not know this history, but rather we have not dealt with it theoretically, and even in the most likely 3 Ibid, So too does the ethnic black realize themselves as both subject and object, themselves as an ethnicity, which for blacks must be eternally patriarchal, if the white patriarchy is to be challenged.

A from University of Memphis inM.

Adult behavior is learned from what is taught as a child by the family institution. You are commenting using your Facebook account. The only discrepancy between the two was that black women could be used as birthing objects.

Professorliterary critic, feminist scholar. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new comments via email. Email required Address never made public. Notify me of new comments via email.


Inas the whites-only Miss America Pageant was being held, two spilkers protests were making two very divergent statements against the Miss America Pageant. This did not happen in white families to the hortnese degree.

After suggesting that this lineage removes African Americans from patriarchal gender and places them outside of family, she concludes by suggesting that men and women descended from this situation might be well positioned to overturn patriarchy, not by joining the ranks of normative gender but by operating from the androgynous “boundary” 74 where they have been placed—that is, by black men’s saying “‘yes’ to the ‘female’ within” and by black women “claiming the monstrosity of a female with the power to name” I think this idealized family structure is very much criticized in Beloved.

To proceed with Spillers argument means not taking for granted concepts like American as being fixed, but being willing to think critically about how identities are formed through complex articulations of power and meaning.

Eric Anthamatten – – Education and Culture 28 2: The black subject, to achieve success in a white-centered culture, must adapt a patriarchy in hotense to do so, at least that is the argument that suffocates black females from taking part in any power structure. This site uses cookies.

Hortense Spillers

A, University of Memphis; M. Slaves, Fetuses, and Animals. An American Grammar Book”. Coakley – – Oxford University Press. These women have gone through very traumatic experiences, but they have stuck spiillers. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Through naming typical stereotypes ascribed to black women, Spillers begins to refute the negative perceptions ascribed to the black family and black familial matriarchal structure asserted throughout the Moynihan Report.


The role reversal within black families–that the mother is the primary and present authority in the household and the fathers are absent, according to the report, deserves culpability for black familial ‘deficiencies’. However, rather than accepting the wisdom of the Moynihan Report which established the trope of the absent black fatherSpillers makes two moves—one historical and the other political.

This begs the question, what does a genderless black subject help us to understand that a more complicated rendering [or gendering] of the black subject would obscure?

I do understand different points that she makes, but I think the dense language and just all the different topics she raises makes it difficult for me to understand all of her main points. What does everyone else think? In that regard, the names by which Horrtense am called in the public place render an example of signifying property plus.

Encyclopedia of Feminist Literary Theory. By using this site, you agree to bbay Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Initially, the brutality of the action is overwhelming, and how someone can be led to this quite unfathomable. The report states that “nearly a quarter of Urban Negro Marriages are Dissolved”.

African American Literary Theory. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: This landmark work of African American criticism is about many things: This page spillees last edited on 15 Decemberat Retrieved March 19,