Centre for Women's and Gender Research

Black Venus: Body, Desire, Figuration, and Narrative

Department of Foreign Languages (IF) and Centre for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK), University of Bergen, organized an interdisciplinary conference in Bergen April 10-11, 2014.

"Black Venus" by Mark Bradford

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For this conference, we invited papers by scholars from a variety of fields (art history, anthropology, cultural studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, film and media studies, gender studies, history, literature, natural sciences, etc.), who are interested in the ways in which the colonial archive has preserved or impacted the construction of the emblematic figure of Black Venus.

Not only do representations of Black Venus often derive from the conflation of exoticism with eroticism, they also embody dichotomies between desire and fear, staging or reading the body as “a cultural rather than natural artifact” (Brooks), the myth of racial difference, and “icon for deviant sexuality,” thus pathology vis-à-vis normal sexuality (Gilman).

Black Venus, as understood in this context, is not exclusively bound to the Atlantic world of slavery but serves as a generic concept, long embedded in Western culture, which has advanced and challenged different manifestations of the myth of “exotic” female sexuality.

Workshop chairs:

Jorunn Svensen Gjerden: Jorunn.Gjerden@if.uib.no

Kari Jegerstedt: Kari.Jegerstedt@skok.uib.no

Željka Švrljuga: Zeljka.Svrljuga@if.uib.no


See link below.