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Refusing to Be Made Whole - Disability in Black Women's Writing

Refusing to Be Made Whole

Disability in Black Women's Writing

By Anna LaQuawn Hinton
Series: Margaret Walker Alexander Series in African American Studies

Hardcover : 9781496855039, 176 pages, March 2025
Paperback : 9781496855046, 176 pages, March 2025
Expected to ship: 2025-03-17
Expected to ship: 2025-03-17

A cross-disciplinary analysis on how Black women writers theorize disability and Black womanhood


In Refusing to Be Made Whole: Disability in Black Women’s Writing, author Anna LaQuawn Hinton examines how contemporary Black women writers present becoming disabled as a traumatic and violent experience of Black womanhood. Nevertheless, Black women embrace disabled Black womanhood by turning to Africanist spiritual understandings of wholeness, which view debilitating injury and illness as not only physical but also spiritual, not just an individual problem but a symptom of discord in the community. Black women use these belief systems to reimagine healing in ways that make space for a variety of bodymindspirits. Hinton maintains that this is not only a major theme in contemporary Black women’s writing but that it also shapes the formal elements characteristic of the Black women’s literary tradition.

Refusing to Be Made Whole analyzes texts published after the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, focusing particularly on the late 1970s onward when Black women’s writing flourished. Through the lens of writings by authors such as Toni Cade Bambara, Gayl Jones, Gloria Naylor, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Sapphire, and Sarah E. Wright, Hinton addresses prominent critical discourses within Black feminist literary studies. Hinton approaches the intersections of Africanist spirituality, race, gender, class, and disability, conversations about representation, community, motherhood, and sexuality through a Black feminist disability studies framework. Refusing to Be Made Whole embraces the complex and multifaceted nature of Black women’s writing, arguing that through this collision of race, gender, and spirituality, Black women writers speak healing and wellness into their readers’ lives and their own.