Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity

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9780822345855: Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity

Slaves to Fashion is a pioneering cultural history of the black dandy, from his emergence in Enlightenment England to his contemporary incarnations in the cosmopolitan art worlds of London and New York. It is populated by sartorial impresarios such as Julius Soubise, a freed slave who sometimes wore diamond-buckled, red-heeled shoes as he circulated through the social scene of eighteenth-century London, and Yinka Shonibare, a prominent Afro-British artist who not only styles himself as a fop but also creates ironic commentaries on black dandyism in his work. Interpreting performances and representations of black dandyism in particular cultural settings and literary and visual texts, Monica L. Miller emphasizes the importance of sartorial style to black identity formation in the Atlantic diaspora.

Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. “Luxury slaves” tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities. Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy’s signature tools—clothing, gesture, and wit—to break down limiting identity markers and propose new ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. With an aplomb worthy of her iconographic subject, she considers the black dandy in relation to nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois’s reflections on black masculinity and cultural nationalism, the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance, and representations of black cosmopolitanism in contemporary visual art.

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From the Publisher:

"Monica L. Miller's close readings dazzle and her historical reach--confident and unforced--is as long as the transnational arc of black dandyism here is wide. Arresting, discerning, responsible, and urgent, Slaves to Fashion is path-breaking. Literary criticism, visual history, and black Atlantic studies never looked so good."--Maurice O. Wallace, author of Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideology in African American Men's Literature and Culture, 1775-1995

"Revising and augmenting the scholarship of black sartorial aesthetics, minstrelsy, literary representations of blackness, and black visual culture, Slaves to Fashion is an impressive and meticulously researched treatise on the history of the black dandy that fills a gap in the scholarship on the politics of the black aesthetics of dress and self-fashioning."--E. Patrick Johnson, author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

From the Back Cover:

"Revising and augmenting scholarship on minstrelsy, literary representations of blackness, and black sartorial aesthetics and visual culture, "Slaves to Fashion" is an impressive and meticulously researched treatise on the history of the black dandy. It fills a gap in the scholarship on the cultural politics of black self-fashioning."--E. Patrick Johnson, author of "Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity"

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Slaves to Fashion is a pioneering cultural history of the black dandy, from his emergence in Enlightenment England to his contemporary incarnations in the cosmopolitan art worlds of London and New York. It is populated by sartorial impresarios such as Julius Soubise, a freed slave who sometimes wore diamond-buckled, red-heeled shoes as he circulated through the social scene of eighteenth-century London, and Yinka Shonibare, a prominent Afro-British artist who not only styles himself as a fop but also creates ironic commentaries on black dandyism in his work. Interpreting performances and representations of black dandyism in particular cultural settings and literary and visual texts, Monica L. Miller emphasizes the importance of sartorial style to black identity formation in the Atlantic diaspora. Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. Luxury slaves tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities.Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy s signature tools-clothing, gesture, and wit-to break down limiting identity markers and propose new ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. With an aplomb worthy of her iconographic subject, she considers the black dandy in relation to nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois s reflections on black masculinity and cultural nationalism, the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance, and representations of black cosmopolitanism in contemporary visual art. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780822345855

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Slaves to Fashion is a pioneering cultural history of the black dandy, from his emergence in Enlightenment England to his contemporary incarnations in the cosmopolitan art worlds of London and New York. It is populated by sartorial impresarios such as Julius Soubise, a freed slave who sometimes wore diamond-buckled, red-heeled shoes as he circulated through the social scene of eighteenth-century London, and Yinka Shonibare, a prominent Afro-British artist who not only styles himself as a fop but also creates ironic commentaries on black dandyism in his work. Interpreting performances and representations of black dandyism in particular cultural settings and literary and visual texts, Monica L. Miller emphasizes the importance of sartorial style to black identity formation in the Atlantic diaspora. Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. Luxury slaves tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities.Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy s signature tools-clothing, gesture, and wit-to break down limiting identity markers and propose new ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. With an aplomb worthy of her iconographic subject, she considers the black dandy in relation to nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois s reflections on black masculinity and cultural nationalism, the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance, and representations of black cosmopolitanism in contemporary visual art. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780822345855

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Book Description Duke University Press. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity, Monica L. Miller, The first book on the history of black dandyism, "Slaves to Fashion" examines the pivotal role that style has played in the politics and aesthetics of African diasporic identity formation. The figure of the black dandy first emerged in eighteenth-century England as an attempt to control the representation of Africans by imposing upon domestic slaves luxurious uniforms intended to flaunt their masters' wealth. These uniforms were soon manipulated by those who wore them, initiating a struggle between master and slave in which style emerged as a primary means of self-expression for blacks. Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Monica L. Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy's signature tools - clothing, gesture, and wit - to break down limiting identity markers and propose new, fluid ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. Miller draws from literature, film, photography, print ads, and music to generate a cultural history of the black dandy, ranging from Mungo Macaroni, a freed slave and well-known dandy in the London social scene in the eighteenth century, to the ways that contemporary visual artists represent the black dandy as an emblem of black cosmopolitanism. Along the way, she addresses the role of the black dandy in nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois' use of the dandy to investigate the relationship between black masculinity and cultural nationalism, and black dandyism in the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance. With masterful aplomb worthy of its iconographic subject, "Slaves to Fashion" analyzes and celebrates the black dandy as a cultural figure in the Atlantic diaspora. Bookseller Inventory # B9780822345855

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Book Description Duke Univ Pr, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 256 pages. 9.25x6.25x0.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # z-0822345854

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