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Black Internationalist FeminismWomen Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995$
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Cheryl Higashida

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036507

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036507.001.0001

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Lorraine Hansberry’s Existentialist Routes to Black Internationalist Feminism

Lorraine Hansberry’s Existentialist Routes to Black Internationalist Feminism

Chapter:
(p.57) 2 Lorraine Hansberry’s Existentialist Routes to Black Internationalist Feminism
Source:
Black Internationalist Feminism
Author(s):

Cheryl Higashida

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036507.003.0003

This chapter examines Lorraine Hansberry's investments in existentialism in order to show that her play about African revolution, Les Blancs (1970), is a culmination of both her Black queer feminism and her internationalism. Hansberry framed Les Blancs as a response to Jean Genet's internationally acclaimed play, The Blacks—an absurdist meditation on power and race in the context of African decolonization; she attacked what she saw as the corrosive effects of The Blacks' existentialist despair and negation of revolutionary praxis. The chapter then argues that Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex provided theoretical scaffolding for Hansberry's Black internationalist feminism. As such, Beauvoir helped Hansberry interrogate dominant views of tragic lesbians, critique heteropatriarchal norms, and represent homosexuality as a political choice with implications for revolutionary movements.

Keywords:   Lorraine Hansberry, existentialism, Les Blancs, revolutionary praxis, Simone de Beauvoir, Black internationalist feminism, heteropatriarchal norms, homosexuality

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