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Josephine Baker in Art and Life

Josephine Baker in Art and Life


by Bennetta Jules-Rosette

Published by: University of Illinois Press

392 pages, 153.00 x 229.00 x 26.00 mm, 51 photographs

  • ISBN: 9780252074127
  • Published: February 2007



Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was a dancer, singer, actress, author, politician, militant, and philanthropist, whose images and cultural legacy have survived beyond the hundredth anniversary of her birth. Neither an exercise in postmodern deconstruction nor simple biography, Josephine Baker in Art and Life presents a critical cultural study of the life and art of the Franco-American performer whose appearances as the savage dancer Fatou shocked the world.


Although the study remains firmly anchored in Josephine Baker’s life and times, presenting and challenging carefully researched biographical facts, it also offers in-depth analyses of the images that she constructed and advanced. Bennetta Jules-Rosette explores Baker’s far-ranging and dynamic career from a sociological and cultural perspective, using the tools of sociosemiotics to excavate the narratives, images, and representations that trace the story of her life and fit together as a cultural production.