July 16, 2007

In My Own Words: Andrea Elizabeth Shaw

Andrea Elizabeth ShawMy book The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies is a project that grew out of my long term interest in the cultural perception of large, black women’s bodies. Growing up as a fat black girl in Jamaica, I loved books and reading, and I always wondered why there were so few characters that looked like me amidst all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels that I voraciously consumed. When characters that even vaguely reminded me of myself, and I do mean vaguely such as Nancy’s black male butler (or was it her chauffeur?), turned up on the page, I read oh so closely to see what the world’s literary imagine was of me, or at least some aspect of my identity. By the time I began my recent book project, it was clear to me what question I wanted to answer: How is the large black woman represented in both literary and popular venues? How is she perceived? How do her race, size and gender intersect in her representation?

What made writing my book interesting for me, and hopefully my readers, is my interrogation of these representations within multiple arenas. For example, within the realm of popular culture I discuss blues singers such as Ma Rainey; actresses such as Mo’Nique of The Parkers; Miss Piggy from Sesame Street; Oprah; Missy Elliott; Miss Lou, Jamaican poet and actress among other things; and Carlene the ex-dancehall queen just to name a few. I also discuss historical figures such as the Venus Hottentot and eighteenth century Barbadian entrepreneur Rachel Pringle. The literary characters I discuss come from a range of texts, including Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s, Nervous Conditions, Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Grace Nichol’s The Fat Black Woman’s Poems, and Derek Walcott’s epic poem, Omeros.



The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies. Lexington Press (2006).

Book Chapters and Articles

 “Big Fat Fish: The Hypersexualization of the Fat Female Body in Calypso and
 Dancehall.” Music, Memory and Resistance: Calypso and the Caribbean Literary Imagination. Eds. Patricia J. Saunders, Sandra Pouchet Paquet, and Stephen Stuempfle. Ian Randle Publishers (2007).

About Andrea Elizabeth Shaw:

Andrea Elizabeth Shaw
is Assistant Director of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

1 comment:

eemanee said...

see why u love this blog?

now that is a book i must definitely buy!