When We Imagine GraceBlack Men and Subject Making

When We Imagine GraceBlack Men and Subject Making

Simone C. Drake

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226363837

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book is an interdisciplinary study that draws on critical race and gender studies, cultural theories, and U.S. jurisprudence in order to rethink the popular notion of crisis in black masculinity studies with a privileging of agency. The metaphor “When We Imagine Grace” is used to theorize how black men must imagine their lives, ambitions, and desires in contrast to the narrow representations of black men’s experiences in the mainstream media and both popular and academic discourses. Focusing on black men’s lives in two specific spaces—civic and domestic—the book analyzes how black men in history, literature, film, political arenas, and popular culture have either challenged or been challenged by social constructions of race, gender, class, and sexuality. This intersectional theory is used to explore the ways in which U.S. law has shaped and informed the social construction of the raced, gendered, classed, and sexed experiences of some black men; the epistemological frameworks that prompt some black men either to challenge or be challenged by the law; and the homogenous and pathological social constructions of black masculinity that the law has helped to perpetuate.