At the Second World War's end, it was clear that business as usual in colonized Africa would not resume. W. E. B. Du Bois's The World and Africa, published in 1946, recognized the depth of the crisis that the war had brought to Europe, and hence to Europe's domination over much of the globe. Du Bois believed that Africa's past provided lessons for its future, for international statecraft, and for humanity's mastery of social relations and commerce. Frederick Cooper revisits a history in which Africans were both empire-builders and the objects of colonization, and participants in the events that gave rise to global capitalism.Of the many pathways out of empire that African leaders envisioned in the 1940s and 1950s, Cooper asks why they ultimately followed the one that led to the nation-state, a political form whose limitations and dangers were recognized by influential Africans at the time. Cooper takes account of the central fact of Africa's situation--extreme inequality between Africa and the western world, and extreme inequality within African societies--and considers the implications of this past trajectory for the future. Reflecting on the vast body of research on Africa since Du Bois's time, Cooper corrects outdated perceptions of a continent often relegated to the margins of world history and integrates its experience into the mainstream of global affairs.
As Africana Studies celebrates its fiftieth anniversary throughout the United States, this invigor ating collection presents possibilities for the future of the discipline’s theoretical paths. The essays in Africana Studies focus on philosophy, science, and technology; poetry, literature, and music; the crisis of the state; issues of colonialism, globalization, and neoliberalism; and the ever-expanding diaspora. The editor and contributors to this volume open exciting avenues for new narratives, philosophies, vision, and scale in this critical field of study—formed during the 1960s around issues of racial injustice in America—to show what Africana Studies is already in the process of becoming.
Africana Studies recognizes how the discipline has been shaped, changing over the decades as scholars have opened new modes of theoretical engagement such as addressing issues of gender and sexuality, politics, and cultural studies. The essays debate and (re)consider black and diasporic life to sustain, provoke, and cultivate Africana Studies as a singular yet polyvalent mode of thinking.
Contributors: Akin Adeṣọkan, John E. Drabinski, Zeyad El Nabolsy, Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, Kasareka Kavwahirehi, Gregory Pardlo, Radwa Saad, Sarah Then Bergh, and the editor
Contributors are Joan C. Bristol, Nancy E. van Deusen, Leo J. Garofalo, Herbert S. Klein, Charles Beatty-Medina, Karen Y. Morrison, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Frank "Trey" Proctor III, and Michele Reid-Vazquez.
A bold challenge to established scholarship, Autochthonomies ranges from Africa to Europe and the Americas to provide powerful new tools for charting the transnational interactions between African cultural producers and sites.
An active blogger on The Zeleza Post, from which these essays are drawn, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza provides a genuinely critical engagement with Africa’s multiple worlds. With a blend of erudition and lively style, Zeleza writes about the role ofAfrica and Africans in the world and the interaction of the world with Africa.
In the title essay, Zeleza analyzes the significance of the election of a member of the African diaspora to the presidency of the United States. He also addresses Africa’s urgent political concerns: China’s role in Africa, South Africa's difficulties in making the transition to a postapartheid society, the agony of Zimbabwe, and a discussion of Pan-Africanism, its history and contemporary challenges. Other posts introduce the reader to the rhythms of daily life, including football and other leisure activities, in capturing the different aspects of Africa.
An original and respected voice, Zeleza engages the reader in a series of passionate public conversations on issues and events of utmost importance to the globalized world. He deserves a wide readership.
In 2000, the United States census allowed respondents for the first time to tick a box marked “African American” in the race category. The new option marked official recognition of a term that had been gaining currency for some decades. Africa has always played a role in black identity, but it was in the tumultuous period between the two world wars that black Americans first began to embrace a modern African American identity.Following the great migration of black southerners to northern cities after World War I, the search for roots and for meaningful affiliations became subjects of debate and display in a growing black public sphere. Throwing off the legacy of slavery and segregation, black intellectuals, activists, and organizations sought a prouder past in ancient Egypt and forged links to contemporary Africa. In plays, pageants, dance, music, film, literature, and the visual arts, they aimed to give stature and solidity to the American black community through a new awareness of the African past and the international black world. Their consciousness of a dual identity anticipated the hyphenated identities of new immigrants in the years after World War II, and an emerging sense of what it means to be a modern American.
Wright argues that three nineteenth-century American and European works addressing race—Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, G. W. F. Hegel’s Philosophy of History, and Count Arthur de Gobineau’s Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races—were particularly influential in shaping twentieth-century ideas about Black subjectivity. She considers these treatises in depth and describes how the revolutionary Black thinkers W. E. B. Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Frantz Fanon countered the theories they promulgated. She explains that while Du Bois, Césaire, Senghor, and Fanon rejected the racist ideologies of Jefferson, Hegel, and Gobineau, for the most part they did so within what remained a nationalist, patriarchal framework. Such persistent nationalist and sexist ideologies were later subverted, Wright shows, in the work of Black women writers including Carolyn Rodgers and Audre Lorde and, more recently, the British novelists Joan Riley, Naomi King, Jo Hodges, and Andrea Levy. By considering diasporic writing ranging from Du Bois to Lorde to the contemporary African novelists Simon Njami and Daniel Biyaoula, Wright reveals Black subjectivity as rich, varied, and always evolving.
The presence of Blacks in a number of European societies has drawn increasing interest from scholars, policymakers, and the general public. This interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary collection penetrates the multifaceted Black presence in Europe, and, in so doing, complicates the notions of race, belonging, desire, and identities assumed and presumed in revealing portraits of Black experiences in a European context. In focusing on contemporary intellectual currents and themes, the contributors theorize and re-imagine a range of historical and contemporary issues related to the broader questions of blackness, diaspora, hegemony, transnationalism, and "Black Europe" itself as lived and perceived realities.
Contributors are Allison Blakely, Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Tina Campt, Fred Constant, Alessandra Di Maio, Philomena Essed, Terri Francis, Barnor Hesse, Darlene Clark Hine, Dienke Hondius, Eileen Julien, Trica Danielle Keaton, Kwame Nimako, Tiffany Ruby Patterson, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Stephen Small, Tyler Stovall, Alexander G. Weheliye, Gloria Wekker, and Michelle M. Wright.
This book describes how the first African American mass political organization was able to gain support from throughout the African diaspora to finance the Black Star Line, a black merchant marine that would form the basis of an enclave economy after World War I. Ramla M. Bandele explores the concept of diaspora itself and how it has been applied to the study of émigré and other ethnic networks.
In characterizing the historical and political context of the Black Star Line, Bandele analyzes the international political economy during 1919-25 and considers the black politics of the era, focusing particularly on Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association for its creation of the Black Star Line. She offers an in-depth case study of the Black Star Line as an instance of the African diaspora attempting to link communities and carry out a transnational political and economic project. Arguing that ethnic networks can be legitimate actors in international politics and economics, Bandele also suggests, however, that activists in any given diaspora do not always function as a unit.
Essays range from a close reading of the 1838 memoirs of a black and Native freewoman to an analysis of how Afro-Native intermarriage has impacted the identities and federal government classifications of certain New England Indian tribes. One contributor explores the aftermath of black slavery in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, highlighting issues of culture and citizenship. Another scrutinizes the controversy that followed the 1998 selection of a Miss Navajo Nation who had an African American father. A historian examines the status of Afro-Indians in colonial Mexico, and an ethnographer reflects on oral histories gathered from Afro-Choctaws. Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds includes evocative readings of several of Toni Morrison’s novels, interpretations of plays by African American and First Nations playwrights, an original short story by Roberta J. Hill, and an interview with the Creek poet and musician Joy Harjo. The Native American scholar Robert Warrior develops a theoretical model for comparative work through an analysis of black and Native intellectual production. In his afterword, he reflects on the importance of the critical project advanced by this volume.
Contributors. Jennifer D. Brody, Tamara Buffalo, David A. Y. O. Chang, Robert Keith Collins, Roberta J. Hill, Sharon P. Holland, ku'ualoha ho’omnawanui, Deborah E. Kanter, Virginia Kennedy, Barbara Krauthamer, Tiffany M. McKinney, Melinda Micco, Tiya Miles, Celia E. Naylor, Eugene B. Redmond, Wendy S. Walters, Robert Warrior
Exploring the intersections of digital humanities and African diaspora studies
How can scholars use digital tools to better understand the African diaspora across time, space, and disciplines? And how can African diaspora studies inform the practices of digital humanities? These questions are at the heart of this timely collection of essays about the relationship between digital humanities and Black Atlantic studies, offering critical insights into race, migration, media, and scholarly knowledge production.
The Digital Black Atlantic spans the African diaspora’s range—from Africa to North America, Europe, and the Caribbean—while its essayists span academic fields—from history and literary studies to musicology, game studies, and library and information studies. This transnational and interdisciplinary breadth is complemented by essays that focus on specific sites and digital humanities projects throughout the Black Atlantic. Covering key debates, The Digital Black Atlantic asks theoretical and practical questions about the ways that researchers and teachers of the African diaspora negotiate digital methods to explore a broad range of cultural forms including social media, open access libraries, digital music production, and video games. The volume further highlights contributions of African diaspora studies to digital humanities, such as politics and representation, power and authorship, the ephemerality of memory, and the vestiges of colonialist ideologies.
Grounded in contemporary theory and praxis, The Digital Black Atlantic puts the digital humanities into conversation with African diaspora studies in crucial ways that advance both.
Contributors: Alexandrina Agloro, Arizona State U; Abdul Alkalimat; Suzan Alteri, U of Florida; Paul Barrett, U of Guelph; Sayan Bhattacharyya, Singapore U of Technology and Design; Agata Błoch, Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences; Michał Bojanowski, Kozminski U; Sonya Donaldson, New Jersey City U; Anne Donlon; Laurent Dubois, Duke U; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M U; Schuyler Esprit, U of the West Indies; Demival Vasques Filho, U of Auckland, New Zealand; David Kirkland Garner; Alex Gil, Columbia U; Kaiama L. Glover, Barnard College, Columbia U; D. Fox Harrell, MIT; Hélène Huet, U of Florida; Mary Caton Lingold, Virginia Commonwealth U; Angel David Nieves, San Diego State U; Danielle Olson, MIT; Tunde Opeibi (Ope-Davies), U of Lagos, Nigeria; Jamila Moore Pewu, California State U, Fullerton; Anne Rice, Lehman College, CUNY; Sercan Şengün, Northeastern U; Janneken Smucker, West Chester U; Laurie N.Taylor, U of Florida; Toniesha L. Taylor, Texas Southern U.
A number of the essays bring to light the formative but not unproblematic influence of African American identity on other populations within the black diaspora. Among these are an examination of the impact of “black America” on racial identity and politics in mid-twentieth-century Liverpool and an inquiry into the distinctive experiences of blacks in Canada. Contributors investigate concepts of race and space in early-twenty-first century Harlem, the experiences of trafficked Nigerian sex workers in Italy, and the persistence of race in the purportedly non-racial language of the “New South Africa.” They highlight how blackness is consumed and expressed in Cuban timba music, in West Indian adolescent girls’ fascination with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in the incorporation of American rap music into black London culture. Connecting race to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, and religion, these essays reveal how new class economies, ideologies of belonging, and constructions of social difference are emerging from ongoing global transformations.
Contributors. Robert L. Adams, Lee D. Baker, Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Tina M. Campt, Kamari Maxine Clarke, Raymond Codrington, Grant Farred, Kesha Fikes, Isar Godreau, Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe, John L. Jackson Jr., Oneka LaBennett, Naomi Pabst, Lena Sawyer, Deborah A. Thomas
Praise for the Previous Volumes:“The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers will take its place among the most important records of the Afro-American experience. . . . ‘The Marcus Garvey Papers’ lays the groundwork for a long overdue reassessment of Marcus Garvey and the legacy of racial pride, nationalism and concern with Africa he bequeathed to today’s black community.”—Eric Foner, the New York Times Book Review“Until the publication of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, many of the documents necessary for a full assessment of Garvey’s thought or of his movement’s significance have not been easily accessible. Robert A. Hill and his staff . . . have gathered over 30,000 documents from libraries and other sources in many countries. . . . The Garvey papers will reshape our understanding of the history of black nationalism and perhaps increase our understanding of contemporary black politics.”—Clayborne Carson, the Nation
“Now is our chance, through these important volumes, to finally begin to come to terms with the significance of Garvey’s complex, fascinating career and the meaning of the movement he built.”—Lawrence W. Levine, the New Republic
Tiffany N. Florvil examines the role of queer and straight women in shaping the contours of the modern Black German movement as part of the Black internationalist opposition to racial and gender oppression. Florvil shows the multifaceted contributions of women to movement making, including Audre Lorde’s role in influencing their activism; the activists who inspired Afro-German women to curate their own identities and histories; and the evolution of the activist groups Initiative of Black Germans and Afro-German Women. These practices and strategies became a rallying point for isolated and marginalized women (and men) and shaped the roots of contemporary Black German activism.
Richly researched and multidimensional in scope, Mobilizing Black Germany offers a rare in-depth look at the emergence of the modern Black German movement and Black feminists’ politics, intellectualism, and internationalism.
What does it mean to be Black? If Blackness is not biological in origin but socially and discursively constructed, does the meaning of Blackness change over time and space? In Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology, Michelle M. Wright argues that although we often explicitly define Blackness as a “what,” it in fact always operates as a “when” and a “where.”
By putting lay discourses on spacetime from physics into conversation with works on identity from the African Diaspora, Physics of Blackness explores how Middle Passage epistemology subverts racist assumptions about Blackness, yet its linear structure inhibits the kind of inclusive epistemology of Blackness needed in the twenty-first century. Wright then engages with bodies frequently excluded from contemporary mainstream consideration: Black feminists, Black queers, recent Black African immigrants to the West, and Blacks whose histories may weave in and out of the Middle Passage epistemology but do not cohere to it.
Physics of Blackness takes the reader on a journey both known and unfamiliar—from Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and gravity to the contemporary politics of diasporic Blackness in the academy, from James Baldwin’s postwar trope of the Eiffel Tower as the site for diasporic encounters to theoretical particle physics’ theory of multiverses and superpositioning, to the almost erased lives of Black African women during World War II. Accessible in its style, global in its perspective, and rigorous in its logic, Physics of Blackness will change the way you look at Blackness.
Written by activists and scholars of law, political science, African American studies, philosophy, economics, and history, the twenty-six essays include both previously published articles and pieces written specifically for this volume. Essays theorize the historical and legal bases of claims for redress; examine the history, strengths, and limitations of the reparations movement; and explore its relation to human rights and social justice movements in the United States and abroad. Other essays evaluate the movement’s primary strategies: legislation, litigation, and mobilization. While all of the contributors support the campaign for redress in one way or another, some of them engage with arguments against reparations.
Among the fifty-three primary documents included in the volume are federal, state, and municipal acts and resolutions; declarations and statements from organizations including the Black Panther Party and the NAACP; legal briefs and opinions; and findings and directives related to the provision of redress, from the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 to the mandate for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States is a thorough assessment of the past, present, and future of the modern reparations movement.
Contributors. Richard F. America, Sam Anderson, Martha Biondi, Boris L. Bittker, James Bolner, Roy L. Brooks, Michael K. Brown, Robert S. Browne, Martin Carnoy, Chiquita Collins, J. Angelo Corlett, Elliott Currie, William A. Darity, Jr., Adrienne Davis, Michael C. Dawson, Troy Duster, Dania Frank, Robert Fullinwider, Charles P. Henry, Gerald C. Horne, Robert Johnson, Jr., Robin D. G. Kelley, Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., David Lyons, Michael T. Martin, Douglas S. Massey , Muntu Matsimela , C. J. Munford, Yusuf Nuruddin, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Melvin L. Oliver, David B. Oppenheimer, Rovana Popoff, Thomas M. Shapiro, Marjorie M. Shultz, Alan Singer, David Wellman, David R. Williams, Eric K. Yamamoto, Marilyn Yaquinto
Routes of Passage provides a conceptual, substantive, and empirical orientation to the study of African people worldwide. The book addresses issues of geographical mobility and geosocial displacement; changing culture, political, and economic relationships between Africa and its diaspora; interdiaspora relations; political and economic agency and social mobilization, including cultural production and psychocultural transformation; existence in hostile and oppressive political and territorial space; and confronting interconnected relations of social inequality, especially class, gender, nationality, and race.
Routes of Passage provides a conceptual, substantive, and empirical orientation to the study of African people worldwide. Routes of Passage addresses issues of geographical mobility and geosocial displacement; changing cultural, political, and economic relationships between Africa and its diaspora; interdiaspora relations; political and economic agency and social mobilization, including cultural production and psychocultural transformation; existence in hostile and oppressive political and territorial space; and confronting interconnected relations of social inequality, especially class, gender, nationality, and race.
This bold, innovative book promises to radically alter our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and the depths of its horrors. Stephanie E. Smallwood offers a penetrating look at the process of enslavement from its African origins through the Middle Passage and into the American slave market.Smallwood's story is animated by deep research and gives us a startlingly graphic experience of the slave trade from the vantage point of the slaves themselves. Ultimately, Saltwater Slavery details how African people were transformed into Atlantic commodities in the process. She begins her narrative on the shores of seventeenth-century Africa, tracing how the trade in human bodies came to define the life of the Gold Coast. Smallwood takes us into the ports and stone fortresses where African captives were held and prepared, and then through the Middle Passage itself. In extraordinary detail, we witness these men and women cramped in the holds of ships, gasping for air, and trying to make sense of an unfamiliar sea and an unimaginable destination. Arriving in America, we see how these new migrants enter the market for laboring bodies, and struggle to reconstruct their social identities in the New World.Throughout, Smallwood examines how the people at the center of her story-merchant capitalists, sailors, and slaves-made sense of the bloody process in which they were joined. The result is both a remarkable transatlantic view of the culture of enslavement, and a painful, intimate vision of the bloody, daily business of the slave trade.
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