The politics of homemaking: Black feminist transformations of a cityscape

Zenzele Isoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In this paper, I develop a political theory of homemaking that attempts to make sense of how space, place, and identity shape black women's political activism. I examine and retell the spatial stories black women activists shared with me in order to clarify how gender and racialization impact black women's conceptions and practice of contemporary grassroots politics. I explore how memory and affect in shape black women's political work by carefully considering how black women's unique relationship to space and place inform how they define and deploy discourses of identity and community. I ask: What are the meanings that black women attribute to space and place? How do identity and affect impact the range of politics that black women pursue in urban landscapes? In response to these concerns, I construct a portrait of black female subjectivity using the perspectives of women who do political work in Newark's Central Ward. In this article, I focus on the narratives of four out of 29 women I interviewed between 2005 and 2007. These women represent three generations of activists, ranging in age from 26 to 70.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalTransforming Anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • African American women
  • Community activism
  • Geography
  • Urban politics


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