Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics

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9781439903087: Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics

In her evocative ethnographic study, a"Body Language," Kimberly Lau traces the multiple ways in which the success of an innovative fitness program illuminates what identity means to its Black female clientele and how their group interaction provides a new perspective on feminist theories of identity politicsOCoespecially regarding the significance of identity to political activism and social change.

Sisters in Shape, Inc., Fitness Consultants (SIS), a Philadelphia company, promotes balance in physical, mental, and spiritual health. Its program goes beyond workouts, as it educates and motivates women to make health and fitness a priority. Discussing the obstacles at home and the importance of the group's solidarity to their ability to stay focused on their goals, the women speak to the ways in which their commitment to reshaping their bodies is a commitment to an alternative future.

"Body Language"ashows how the group's explorations of black women's identity open new possibilities for identity-based claims to recognition, justice, and social change.

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About the Author:

Kimberly J. Lau is Professor of Literature and American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of New Age Capitalism: Making Money East of Eden.

Review:

"In Body Language, Kimberly Lau adeptly draws the reader into the Sisters in Shape culture, whose central players emerge as multidimensional beings. The author's personal and extended connection with the group provides rich detail as to its origins, day-to-day activities, and impact on Black women looking not to embody familiar health statistics. The `discursive' focus of the text is novel, and explores the reworkings of identity and body that Sisters in Shape enable through talk and action."-Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant, Associate Professor of Sociology and Education Studies at DePauw University, and author of Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman (Temple)

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Lau, Kimberly J
Published by Temple University Press
ISBN 10: 1439903085 ISBN 13: 9781439903087
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