Meet the New Faculty: Jennifer Brody

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2010-02-02 18:24Z by Steven

Meet the New Faculty: Jennifer Brody

Duke Today
The Duke Community’s Daily News and Information Resource
Duke University

Andrea Fereshteh

Exploring the intersection of race, gender and art

Durham, North Carolina — From a very early age, Jennifer Brody was curious about the intersection of art, gender and race. She recalls a time as a young girl when she drew a picture of herself and colored her skin in brown.

“I told my mother that was the color I really was, even though she couldn’t see it,” says the fair-skinned Brody, the newest member of Duke’s African and African American Studies department. “As a young child, I had a conscious perception of how I might move through the world and what kinds of limitations and possibilities my specific location might engender.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Lecture by Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody

Posted in Anthropology, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2009-10-13 18:57Z by Steven

Lecture by Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody

Theater Dance & Performance Studies
University of California at Berkeley
Durham Studio Theater (Dwinelle Hall)
Thursday, 2010-02-18 16:00 PST (Local Time)

Sponsor: Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies

Jennifer DeVere Brody is a Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University where she teaches cultural and performance studies, gender and sexuality as well as film and literary studies. She is the author of Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (Duke University Press, 1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (Duke University Press, 2008). Her work has been supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Ford Foundation, a grant from the British Society for Theatre Research and was recognized by the Monette/Horwitz Trust for Independent Research to combat homophobia. Her research on race, visual culture and African American Literature has appeared in journals such as Genders, Signs, Callaloo, Theatre Journal, Text and Performance Quarterly and numerous edited volumes. Before joining the faculty at Duke, Professor Brody was the Weinberg College Board of Visitors Research and Teaching Professor at Northwestern University. She was also the President of the Women and Theatre Program, a division of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. She serves on several boards and works with MLA, ASA, and ATHE.

Attendance restrictions: Free admission. Seating is limited. No advance reservations available.
Event Contact:, 510-642-8268

Tags: , ,

Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity, and Victorian Culture

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United Kingdom, Women on 2009-10-12 23:07Z by Steven

Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity, and Victorian Culture

Duke University Press
272 pages
13 b&w photographs
Cloth ISBN: 0-8223-2105-X, ISBN13: 978-0-8223-2105-7
Paperback ISBN: 0-8223-2120-3, ISBN13 978-0-8223-2120-0

Jennifer DeVere Brody, Professor, African and African American Studies
Duke University

Using black feminist theory and African American studies to read Victorian culture, Impossible Purities looks at the construction of “Englishness” as white, masculine, and pure and “Americanness” as black, feminine, and impure. Brody’s readings of Victorian novels, plays, paintings, and science fiction reveal the impossibility of purity and the inevitability of hybridity in representations of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and race. She amasses a considerable amount of evidence to show that Victorian culture was bound inextricably to various forms and figures of blackness.

Opening with a reading of Daniel Defoe’s “A True-Born Englishman,” which posits the mixed origins of English identity, Brody goes on to analyze mulattas typified by Rhoda Swartz in William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, whose mixed-race status reveals the “unseemly origins of English imperial power.” Examining Victorian stage productions from blackface minstrel shows to performances of The Octoroon and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she explains how such productions depended upon feminized, “black” figures in order to reproduce Englishmen as masculine white subjects. She also discusses H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau in the context of debates about the “new woman,” slavery, and fears of the monstrous degeneration of English gentleman. Impossible Purities concludes with a discussion of Bram Stoker’s novella, “The Lair of the White Worm,” which brings together the book’s concerns with changing racial representations on both sides of the Atlantic.

This book will be of interest to scholars in Victorian studies, literary theory, African American studies, and cultural criticism.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,