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Beyond the Masks
Amina Mama
Price: $ 29.95

Beyond the Masks is a book about identity, which places race and gender analysis at the center of our understanding of what it means to be a person. Amina Mama argues that rather than simply internalizing what psychological theory and dominant culture have to say about them, black women invoke collective history in a continuous struggle to counteract the racism and sexism of their social and cultural milieu, and so to develop new subjectivities. The contradictions imposed on individuals by an oppressive social order inspire personal struggles that generate a new self-awareness and, in the end, lead to social change.

Colonial and racist psychological discourses on "the African" and "the Negro" are located in the history of slavery and colonialism, demonstrating the complex interplay between psychological science and dominant interests. To overcome this hegemony, Mama re-theorizes subjectivity as a continous creative and dynamic response to the mechanisms of domination and subjugation. Through a study of the changing consciousness of a number of black women, the racialized and gendered aspects of of identity are brought to bear on a radically different conceptualization of subjectivity itself.

Beyond the Masks is a readable book which investigates the history of racist psychology and then theorizes the dynamics of black femininity.

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