African American/Black Identity And Gendered Resistance In The Selected Poems Of June Jordan

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Zuhaib Ahmad Malik


Identity has remained a recurrent and powerful theme in African American literature which writers, poets or artists of African descent cannot afford to ignore. One can observe an ongoing quest and assertion of Black identity right from the time of slave narratives until now. African Americans have a long history of being the marginalized and oppressed community in the White racist European world. Black American women in particular, have been the ‘doubly othered’ section of the American society marginalized due to their colour and gender. Even after the abolition of slavery and women’s rights movement, oppression of Black American women still persists in one form or the other. June Jordan, like other African American women writers has explored this significant issue that strongly challenges the white supremacist and sexist ideologies of the western world. Despite being one of the most published writers of the contemporary African American literature, Jordan’s writings have not been thoroughly researched and she is excluded from popular European anthologies. Although, significant studies have been done on the issue of Black Identity and Black female resistance, Jordan’s contribution in this area has not been fully explored yet. Using the theoretical framework of Black feminism, this paper will showcase how Jordan approaches the problematics of African American/ Black identity and gendered resistance in her poetry. It also endeavours to propose how Jordan’s writings pave the way for new emerging identities, the hallmarks of which are freedom, multiculturalism and pluralism. The writer’s views on sexual pluralism, and the mutual relationship of sexuality and identity are also analyzed.

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