Recasting 'Black Venus' in the new African Diaspora

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This article explores the ways in which transnational feminist analysis can be deployed to reconfigure new gendered and racialized cartographies of the African Diaspora in Europe. First, I position contemporary film representations of trafficked Nigerian sex workers in Italy in dialogical relation to 19th century discourses of black sexuality - in particular, Sharpley-Whiting's (1999) reinscribed 'Black Venus Master Narrative' - and assess historical and geographical (dis)continuities in their modes of signification. Second, by linking endemic factors feeding the supply of Nigerian women for the purposes of (in)voluntary participation in the Italian sex industry, such as the localized feminization of poverty and regionally specific perceptions of sex work as a temporary economic strategy, I engage with broader feminist debates on victimization and agency in global sex work and migration literatures. In doing so, this dialectical think piece highlights the gendered complexities of new African diasporic formations and the ways in which their growth is facilitated by broader illegal networks that shape and are shaped by vicissitudes in glocalized economies. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






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Ifekwunigwe, JO (2004). Recasting 'Black Venus' in the new African Diaspora. Women's Studies International Forum, 27(4). pp. 397–412. 10.1016/j.wsif.2004.10.008 Retrieved from

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Jane O Ifekwunigwe

Visiting Associate Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

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