Bodyminds Reimagined

Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction is Sami Schalk’s first monograph, published by Duke University Press in March 2018. The cover art below is by Tahir Carl Karmali. It is a very detailed image, so please see these separate links for an image description and a link for a high resolution download of the cover image.

The image features a black person in the center from the chest up with dark skin, red lips, and deep hollows in their collarbones, looking to the left, the expression on their face relatively neutral. The person is wearing a sleeveless garment made on various technological parts in greens and oranges that appear to be computer hardware, gears, and perhaps a gun barrel at the center of their chest. The person's right arm is bare and the left arm is missing. On their face, they wear a number of hardware pieces, one circular over their left eye, which appears to be looking forward at the viewer, and the rest the same gun barrel type device, a motor and gears. On top of the figure's head are large rusted metal circles that create a halo effect and large, dirty silver metal pieces, looking similar to scissor blades, rise from the back of the person's head and off the top of the image. Next to the person are feathers that seem attached to their body in a wing pattern and red and black wires run from behind the person's head down and into the feathers. The feathers and wires take up the entirety of the bottom half of the image. In the background, in the upper portion of the image, there is a beautiful bright blue sky with white puffy clouds and a number of tall buildings, suggesting a major city is in the distance. At the bottom of the cover is the title of the book. The word BODYMINDS is large in white font stacked on top of REIMAGINED, in slightly larger font, though the "RE" is in orange font and IMAGINED is in white. Next to these stacked worked is my name SAMI SCHALK, also stacked in smaller greenish font. Beneath all of these words is the subtitle "(DIS)ABILTIY, RACE, AND GENDER IN BLACK WOMEN'S SPECULATIVE FICTION" in even smaller white font.
Cover of Bodyminds Reimagined

Publisher’s blurb: “In Bodyminds Reimagined Sami Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre’s political potential lies in the authors’ creation of bodyminds that transcend reality’s limitations. She reads (dis)ability in neo-slavery narratives by Octavia Butler (Kindred) and Phyllis Alesia Perry (Stigmata) not only as representing the literal injuries suffered under slavery, but also as a metaphor for the legacy of racial violence. The fantasy worlds in works by N. K.Jemisin, Shawntelle Madison, and Nalo Hopkinson—where werewolves have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and blind demons can see magic—destabilize social categories and definitions of the human, calling into question the very nature of identity. In these texts, as well as in Butler’s Parable series, able-mindedness and able-bodiedness are socially constructed and upheld through racial and gendered norms. Outlining (dis)ability’s centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualizations of identity and oppression through non-realist contexts.”

Dr. Schalk smiles, wearing a shiny silver top and sitting in front of a table with a purple tablecloth, holding a copy of Bodyminds Reimagined
Dr. Schalk at her book launch party in March 2018

Read and listen to interviews with Dr. Schalk about the book:

Read the reviews:

“Schalk’s Bodyminds Reimagined is a trailblazing book” – Grace Gipson in Black Perspectives

“…the much-needed intervention in disability studies and black feminist theory that it promises to be…Bodyminds Reimagined is the book for our moment” – Anna Hinton in ASAP Journal

“What I appreciate most about the text is that it offers a novel way to look at Black women science fiction writers and makes their work legible as literature that should be taken seriously not only because of the beautiful worldmaking in the texts but also because of the kinds of theoretical contributions that are only discernible through the intersectional theoretical framework applied by Schalk.” -Moya Bailey in Feminist Formations Review

More reviews:

You can read the book’s introduction here. Plus, you can get the book at 30% off by visiting Duke University Press and entering coupon code E18BODYM during checkout. Once you’ve read the book, please support it further by adding reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!

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