Buy One, Get One 50% Off Our Monthly Picks!
Shop Now
The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women

The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women

NOOK Book(eBook)

$15.99 $21.00 Save 24% Current price is $15.99, Original price is $21. You Save 24%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details


A Choice Outstanding Title of the Year
A USA Today "Must-Read for Black History Month"
An NPR "Goats and Soda" Editors' Pick
A BookRiot Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year

An unprecedented visual history of African women told in striking and subversive historical photographs-featuring an Introduction by Edwidge Danticat and a Foreword by Jacqueline Woodson.

Most of us grew up with images of African women that were purely anthropological-bright displays of exotica where the deeper personhood seemed tucked away. Or they were chronicles of war and poverty-“poverty porn.” But now, curator Catherine E. McKinley draws on her extensive collection of historical and contemporary photos to present a visual history spanning a hundred-year arc (1870–1970) of what is among the earliest photography on the continent. These images tell a different story of African women: how deeply cosmopolitan and modern they are in their style; how they were able to reclaim the tools of the colonial oppression that threatened their selfhood and livelihoods.

Featuring works by celebrated African masters, African studios of local legend, and anonymous artists, The African Lookbook captures the dignity, playfulness, austerity, grandeur, and fantasy-making of African women across centuries. McKinley also features photos by Europeans-most starkly, striking nudes-revealing the relationships between white men and the Black female sitters where, at best, a grave power imbalance lies. It's a bittersweet truth that when there is exploitation there can also be profound resistance expressed in unexpected ways-even if it's only in gazing back. These photos tell the story of how the sewing machine and the camera became powerful tools for women's self-expression, revealing a truly glorious display of everyday beauty.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620403549
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: 01/19/2021
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 786,611
File size: 94 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Catherine E. McKinley is a curator and writer whose books include the critically acclaimed Indigo, a journey along the ancient indigo trade routes in West Africa, and The Book of Sarahs, a memoir about growing up Black and Jewish in the 1960s–80s. She's taught creative nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. The McKinley Collection, featured here, is a personal archive representing African photographies from 1870 to the present. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction Edwidge Danticat xi

Foreword Jacqueline Woodson xvii

Preface by the Author xix

Chapter I Heritage The African Masters, 1900s-1970s 3

Chapter II With a Certain Eye The Colonial Studio, 1870-1957 31

Chapter III Dressing and Undressing, 1900-1940 109

Chapter IV Clothes for a New Nation Independence and Post-Independence, 1957-1970s 153

Postnote 185

Acknowledgments 189

Bibliography 191

Additional Image Credits 193

Permissions 195

Index 197

Customer Reviews