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Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In Bodyminds Reimagined Sami Schalk traces how black women's speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre's political potential lies in the authors' creation of body ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published March 26th 2018 by Duke University Press Books (first published 2018)
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Thistle & Verse
A fascinating book and a quick read. Schalk follows the 'tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them' format pretty explicitly. Having the points reiterated multiple times was helpful for me. I'm casually familiar with disability studies, but I don't think that was necessary to understand this book. Schalk does a good job of explaining the concepts relevant to her analysis. This isn't a book where Schalk evaluates how good the disability representation is. H ...more
Bogi Takács
My review (~1500 words!) finally up:

Spoiler: Yes, I recommend this book!

Source of the book: Print review copy from publisher
Danni Green
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spaaaaaace
Excellent, thought-provoking intersectional analysis. The parts of my brain that get off on this type of scholarly discourse were all lit up. I didn't even have to have read/watched all the literature and film examples the author cited, the points that were being made were well-illustrated by the synopses of the relevant content and the way the author discussed them.

Also, I told someone about this book and then they agreed to go on a date with me, so it is clearly good luck.
Really fascinating overview of black women's speculative fiction and how it deals with (dis)ability race and gender--hmm, I just rewrote the title. I can just say it's exactly what it says on the tin, but I had never thought this much or this deeply about that tin. The author looks at the work of many authors and really challenged the reader to think about different ways to interpret and think about their stories--which is one of the best things sci-fi and fantasy can do. Not only do I want to r ...more
Donyae Coles
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by two different people before it even came out because they knew that these topics were my jam and all of them together would be the perfect vortex for me. And both of those people were right.

I had actually read almost all of the books discussed in this work which felt like I had done my homework in advance. Schalk offers a new perspective on these topics which are often just dismissed as entertainment and lays out the path in which they connect with a larger fr
Ro Mo
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal linkage of black feminist studies and disability studies— focusing on the speculative fiction genre, Schalk refers to multiple works that demonstrate how the genres affords the author space to move beyond totalizing disability, to defamiliarize race/disability/gender/sexuality and imagine new status quos, and more. Cannot recommend this thought-provoking read enough.
Hilary ☀️
This is hands down one of the best books I've read this year.

Dr. Sami Schalk uses intersectional, crip, and Black feminist theory to analyze Black women's speculative fiction, which Dr. Schalk argues "changes the rules of reality," thus also requiring a reimagining from the reader. In regards to disability, race, and gender (and even what we consider to be "human"), this means leaving our assumptions and categorizations at the door and engaging with identities and societal oppressions without be
“The use of defamiliarization in black women’s speculative fiction is not limited to (dis)ability alone. The additional defamiliarization of race, gender, and sexuality in these texts reveals how this speculative-fictional method of representation is integral to the texts’ social critiques. The collective defamiliarization of multiple social categories emphasizes that (dis)ability, race, gender, and sexuality are distinctly human, socially construccted concepts that rely on particular notions of ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly thoughtful meditations on race, gender, and discourse. The best applications of intersectional feminism and disability justice on media I’ve come across. the material Schalk explores is so rich with analysis, imagination, and fucking PLEASURE. This book was an absolute PLEASURE to read, think about, sit with, feel, share. I’ve deepened friendships over discussing this text, and sharing its insights when discussing the works it analyzes in community. Please read this book- For all fans ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is doing vital, vanguard work!
Two things I wanted more or differently from it though:
1. The Intro and in some chapters could unpack some of the critical theory developments in more detail for people not already fully in them. For example, the analogy of Crip Theory to Queer Theory intrigues me, but I want the book to walk me through some of the strategies and stakes of Crip Theory.
2. I was looking for a deeper engagement with SF Studies given the primary texts at the core of this book.
Jonathan Soren
This book was so unbelievably nourishing! It felt like finding community after believing for years that you were alone. Would especially recommend the second chapter, "Who's Reality Is It Anyway? Deconstructing Able-Mindedness," and "The Future of Bodyminds, Bodyminds of the Future." Can't wait to read the works discussed here, particularly Phyllis Alesia Perry's Stigmata and Nalo Hopkinson's Sister Mine. ...more
Anthony Boynton
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ngozi Alston
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book that thoroughly interrogates how we think about intersectionality with (dis)abilities that are apparent or not, and how they are perceived with other marginalized identities.
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of my depth, but learnt a lot! Gave me a framework for thinking about what I'm reading. Great bibliography too. ...more
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Sami Schalk is an Assistant Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at University of Wisconsin- Madison. Her research focuses on disability, race, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture, especially African American literature, speculative fiction, and women writers. She identifies as a black queer cis woman. ...more

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