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Unnatural Matrimony

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Title: Unnatural Matrimony
Author(s): Henderson, Aneeka
Abstract: "My research explores the literary convention of the marriage plot in contemporary black popular romance of the 1980s and 1990s. These texts link to popular romance through emphasis on courtship, but refuses the genre’s conventional ending of marriage. Perpetual courtship highlights the unresolved gender politics between black women and men, which ultimately forestalls marriage and uncovers a new set of race, gender, and class politics. Through a close reading of black popular romance and analysis of the media and public discourse about black families in film, music, and television, my project reveals how the novels intervene and contribute to public debates about the black family. This photograph is of an engagement ring between the pages of a popular contemporary romance novel. The words below the ring underscore the quest for love in romance novels and, as a national symbol of impending matrimony, the engagement ring represents the protagonist's expectation for marriage after extensive periods of courtship. The soil stuck in and around the crevices of the ring and littered on the page symbolizes the newly exhumed pessimism for a ""natural"" and successful ending of matrimony."
Issue Date: 2011
Type: Image
Description: Finalist 2011 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library, April 13-May 30, 2011.
Sponsor: University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College
Date Available in INDIGO: 2012-01-03

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