Erotic Defiance: Womanism, Freedom, and Resistance (PB) (2023)

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The West fears desire. It fears ecstasy. It fears flesh. It copes with its fears by deploying its intellectual, political, and religious instruments to regulate, discipline, and punish. Western fear of the erotic has led to its regimes of racial and gender hierarchies, institutions of repression, and dehumanization of large portions of the human family. In the face of anti-erotic hegemony, Black women have too often yielded to Western Christianity's anti-erotic culture, its misnaming of the erotic as evil, and its denial of the erotic's relationship to the divine. But they have also resisted. They have also defied. This book is rooted in that tradition of defiance.

Erotic Defiance considers the sacred and transformative power of the flesh through investigating the ethical and theological dimensions of the erotic experiences of Black women and performances of Black womanhood. Drawing on womanist and feminist analyses, Courtney Bryant approaches the erotic as a divine energy that manifests love in and through the flesh.

Such love takes many forms. It extends beyond the sexual to include passion, spirituality, community, and self-love. By positing love's manifestations as sacred work that cannot be accomplished without the divine, Bryant presents the erotic as a collaboration between Spirit and flesh. This collaboration results in unique, liberating properties that make possible the kind of healing, resistance, and self-making necessary for Black women's self-actualization in a world hell-bent on their erasure and demonization.


Courtney Bryant
ISBN 10:
Fortress Press
Publication Date:
November 7, 2023

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