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Dans les bras de la nourrice : black mammies, enfants blancs, un « corps-à-corps » ambigu

Abstract : Kimberly Wallace-Sanders’ phrase « the mammification of the nation » sums up well the importance of the « Mammy » figure in the process of American nation-building. This article addresses the ambiguous relationship between the white child and the black mammy : her body, which is the body of a slave, enters the domestic sphere so deeply that she seems to become a member of the family, even a second mother. Yet this idealized image is but the mask of a real violence: the mammy is deprived of her own maternity, and made the victim of the antiabolitionnist manoeuvres. She is indeed used as a symbol of interracial harmony in the society of the South, hence her further rejection. Despite all efforts made to annihilate her, she remains omnipresent in the American psyche, a mixed figure of nostalgia and guilt. The story of this complex and repressed figure seems to reveal how the whole nation has disowned a woman who is indeed, if one refers to the analyses of anthropologist Rita Laura Segato, its mother: a black and enslaved mother, subjected to scorn and aggression.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 3:49:01 PM
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Cécile Gauthier. Dans les bras de la nourrice : black mammies, enfants blancs, un « corps-à-corps » ambigu. Textes et Contextes, Université de Bourgogne, Centre Interlangues TIL, 2018, Maîtres, domestiques et serviteurs : récits d’une intimité ambiguë dans le monde anglophone du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours, 12 (2). ⟨hal-02872147⟩



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