Of the many pathways out of empire, why did African leaders follow the one that led to the nation-state, whose dangers were recognized by Africans in the 1940s and 50s? Frederick Cooper revisits a long history in which Africans were empire-builders, the objects of colonization, and participants in events that gave rise to global capitalism.
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
Africans to Spanish America expands the diaspora framework to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African diaspora in the Spanish empires. Analysis of the regions of Mexico and the Andes opens up new questions of community formation that incorporated Spanish legal strategies in secular and ecclesiastical institutions as well as articulations of multiple African identities. The volume is arranged around three sub-themes: identity construction in the Americas; the struggle by enslaved and free people to present themselves as civilized, Christian, and resistant to slavery; and issues of cultural exclusion and inclusion.
Contributors are Joan Cameron Bristol, Nancy E. van Deusen, Leo Garafalo, Herbert S. Klein, Charles Beatty Medina, Karen Y. Morrison, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Frank "Trey" Proctor, and Michele B. Reid.
In Afro-Atlantic Flight Michelle D. Commander traces how post-civil rights Black American artists, intellectuals, and travelers envision literal and figurative flight back to Africa as a means by which to heal the dispossession caused by the slave trade. Through ethnographic, historical, literary, and filmic analyses, Commander shows the ways that cultural producers such as Octavia Butler, Thomas Allen Harris, and Saidiya Hartman engage with speculative thought about slavery, the spiritual realm, and Africa, thereby structuring the imaginary that propels future return flights. She goes on to examine Black Americans’ cultural heritage tourism in and migration to Ghana; Bahia, Brazil; and various sites of slavery in the US South to interrogate the ways that a cadre of actors produces “Africa” and contests master narratives. Compellingly, these material flights do not always satisfy Black Americans’ individualistic desires for homecoming and liberation, leading Commander to focus on the revolutionary possibilities inherent in psychic speculative returns and to argue for the development of a Pan-Africanist stance that works to more effectively address the contemporary resonances of slavery that exist across the Afro-Atlantic.
Although he never lived in Harlem, Chester Himes commented that he experienced “a sort of pure homesickness” while creating the Harlem-set detective novels from his self-imposed exile in Paris. Through writing, Himes constructed an imaginary home informed both by nostalgia for a community he never knew and a critique of the racism he left behind in the United States. Half a century later, Michelle Cliff wrote about her native Jamaica from the United States, articulating a positive Caribbean feminism that at the same time acknowledged Jamaica’s homophobia and color prejudice.
In At Home in Diaspora, Wendy Walters investigates the work of Himes, Cliff, and three other twentieth-century black international writers—Caryl Phillips, Simon Njami, and Richard Wright—who have lived in and written from countries they do not call home. Unlike other authors in exile, those of the African diaspora are doubly displaced, first by the discrimination they faced at home and again by their life abroad. Throughout, Walters suggests that in the absence of a recoverable land of origin, the idea of diaspora comes to represent a home that is not singular or exclusionary. In this way, writing in exile is much more than a literary performance; it is a profound political act.
Wendy W. Walters is assistant professor of literature at Emerson College.
In Autochthonomies, Myriam J. A. Chancy engages readers in an interpretive journey. She lays out a radical new process that invites readers to see creations by artists of African descent as legible within the context of African diasporic historical and cultural debates. By invoking a transnational African/diasporic lens and negotiating it through a lakou or ”yard space,” we can see such identities transfigured, recognized, and exchanged. Chancy demonstrates how the process can examine the salient features of texts and art that underscore African/diasporic sensibilities and render them legible. What emerges is a potential for richer readings of African diasporic works that also ruptures the Manichean binary dynamics that have dominated previous interpretations of the material. The result: an enriching interpretive mode focused on the transnational connections between subjects of African descent as the central pole for reader investigation.
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.
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. 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. 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.
Becoming Black is a powerful theorization of Black subjectivity throughout the African diaspora. In this unique comparative study, Michelle M. Wright discusses the commonalties and differences in how Black writers and thinkers from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, France, Great Britain, and Germany have responded to white European and American claims about Black consciousness. As Wright traces more than a century of debate on Black subjectivity between intellectuals of African descent and white philosophers, she also highlights how feminist writers have challenged patriarchal theories of Black identity.
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.
Black and Blur
Fred Moten Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress E185.625.M684 2017
"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis."—Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination
In Black and Blur—the first volume in his sublime and compelling trilogy consent not to be a single being—Fred Moten engages in a capacious consideration of the place and force of blackness in African diaspora arts, politics, and life. In these interrelated essays, Moten attends to entanglement, the blurring of borders, and other practices that trouble notions of self-determination and sovereignty within political and aesthetic realms. Black and Blur is marked by unlikely juxtapositions: Althusser informs analyses of rappers Pras and Ol' Dirty Bastard; Shakespeare encounters Stokely Carmichael; thinkers like Kant, Adorno, and José Esteban Muñoz and artists and musicians including Thornton Dial and Cecil Taylor play off each other. Moten holds that blackness encompasses a range of social, aesthetic, and theoretical insurgencies that respond to a shared modernity founded upon the sociological catastrophe of the transatlantic slave trade and settler colonialism. In so doing, he unsettles normative ways of reading, hearing, and seeing, thereby reordering the senses to create new means of knowing.
Black Europe and the African Diaspora
Edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Trica Danielle Keaton, and Stephen Small University of Illinois Press, 2008 Library of Congress D1056.2.B55H56 2009 | Dewey Decimal 305.89604
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.
Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds explores the critically neglected intersection of Native and African American cultures. This interdisciplinary collection combines historical studies of the complex relations between blacks and Indians in Native communities with considerations and examples of various forms of cultural expression that have emerged from their intertwined histories. The contributors include scholars of African American and Native American studies, English, history, anthropology, law, and performance studies, as well as fiction writers, poets, and a visual artist.
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
IIn a long overdue contribution to geography and social theory, Katherine McKittrick offers a new and powerful interpretation of black women’s geographic thought. In Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States, black women inhabit diasporic locations marked by the legacy of violence and slavery. Analyzing diverse literatures and material geographies, McKittrick reveals how human geographies are a result of racialized connections, and how spaces that are fraught with limitation are underacknowledged but meaningful sites of political opposition.
Demonic Grounds moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade. Specifically, the author addresses the geographic implications of slave auction blocks, Harriet Jacobs’s attic, black Canada and New France, as well as the conceptual spaces of feminism and Sylvia Wynter’s philosophies.
Central to McKittrick’s argument are the ways in which black women are not passive recipients of their surroundings and how a sense of place relates to the struggle against domination. Ultimately, McKittrick argues, these complex black geographies are alterable and may provide the opportunity for social and cultural change.
Katherine McKittrick is assistant professor of women’s studies at Queen’s University.
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.
The contributors to Embodying Black Religions in Africa and Its Diasporas investigate the complex intersections between the body, religious expression, and the construction and transformation of social relationships and political and economic power. Among other topics, the essays examine the dynamics of religious and racial identity among Brazilian Neo-Pentecostals; the significance of cloth coverings in Islamic practice in northern Nigeria; the ethics of socially engaged hip-hop lyrics by Black Muslim artists in Britain; ritual dance performances among Mama Tchamba devotees in Togo; and how Ifá practitioners from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, and the United States join together in a shared spiritual ethnicity. From possession and spirit-induced trembling to dance, the contributors outline how embodied religious practices are central to expressing and shaping interiority and spiritual lives, national and ethnic belonging, ways of knowing and techniques of healing, and sexual and gender politics. In this way, the body is a crucial site of religiously motivated social action for people of African descent.
Contributors. Rachel Cantave, Youssef Carter, N. Fadeke Castor, Yolanda Covington-Ward, Casey Golomski, Elyan Jeanine Hill, Nathanael J. Homewood, Jeanette S. Jouili, Bertin M. Louis Jr., Camee Maddox-Wingfield, Aaron Montoya, Jacob K. Olupona, Elisha P. Renne
In the West African nation of Togo, applying for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery is a national obsession, with hundreds of thousands of Togolese entering each year. From the street frenzy of the lottery sign-up period and the scramble to raise money for the embassy interview to the gamesmanship of those adding spouses and dependents to their dossiers, the application process is complicated, expensive, and unpredictable. In The Fixer Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a Togolese visa broker—known as a “fixer”—as he shepherds his clients through the application and interview process. Relaying the experiences of the fixer, his clients, and embassy officials, Piot captures the ever-evolving cat-and-mouse game between the embassy and the hopeful Togolese as well as the disappointments and successes of lottery winners in the United States. These detailed and compelling stories uniquely illustrate the desire and savviness of migrants as they work to find what they hope will be a better life.
If we were all brave enough to resurrect the voices lost from our humanity, what would they say? Award-winning poet Quincy Troupe, spokesman for the humanizing forces of poetry, music, and art, parts the Atlantic and rattles the ground built on slavery with Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer.
we are crossing, / we are / crossing, / we are crossing in big salt water, // we are crossing, // crossing under a sky of no guilt / we have left home // though we know we will go back / someday, / see our people / as we knew them . . .
Troupe re-creates the history of lost voices between the waters of Africa, Cuba, and the United States. His daring poetics drenched in new forms-notably the seven-elevens-clench transformative narratives spurred on by a relentless, rhythmic language that mimics the foaming waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. His personae speak quantum litanies within one epic, sermonic-gospel to articulate our most ancient ways of storytelling and survival.
Global Circuits of Blackness is a sophisticated analysis of the interlocking diasporic connections between Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. A diverse and gifted group of scholars delve into the contradictions of diasporic identity by examining at close range the encounters of different forms of blackness converging on the global scene.
Contributors examine the many ways blacks have been misrecognized in a variety of contexts. They also explore how, as a direct result of transnational networking and processes of friction, blacks have deployed diasporic consciousness to interpellate forms of white supremacy that have naturalized black inferiority, inhumanity, and abjection. Various essays document the antagonism between African Americans and Africans regarding heritage tourism in West Africa, discuss the interaction between different forms of blackness in Toronto's Caribana Festival, probe the impact of the Civil Rights movement in America on diasporic communities elsewhere, and assess the anxiety about HIV and AIDS within black communities. The volume demonstrates that diaspora is a floating revelation of black consciousness that brings together, in a single space, dimensions of difference in forms and content of representations, practices, and meanings of blackness. Diaspora imposes considerable flexibility in what would otherwise be place-bound fixities.
Contributors are Marlon M. Bailey, Jung Ran Forte, Reena N. Goldthree, Percy C. Hintzen, Lyndon Phillip, Andrea Queeley, Jean Muteba Rahier, Stéphane Robolin, and Felipe Smith.
Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah A. Thomas argue that a firm grasp of globalization requires an understanding of how race has constituted, and been constituted by, global transformations. Focusing attention on race as an analytic category, this state-of-the-art collection of essays explores the changing meanings of blackness in the context of globalization. It illuminates the connections between contemporary global processes of racialization and transnational circulations set in motion by imperialism and slavery; between popular culture and global conceptions of blackness; and between the work of anthropologists, policymakers, religious revivalists, and activists and the solidification and globalization of racial categories.
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
In Illegible Will Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance to examine the absence of black women's will from that archive. Young argues for that will's illegibility, given the paucity of materials outlining the agency of black historical subjects. Drawing on court documents, novels, photographs, historical records, websites, and descriptions of music and dance, Young shows how black will can be conjured through critical imaginings done in concert with historical research. She critically imagines the will of familiar subjects such as Sarah Baartman and that of obscure figures such as the eighteenth-century slave Tryntjie of Madagascar, who was executed in 1713 for attempting to poison her mistress. She also investigates the presence of will in contemporary expressive culture, such as the Miss Landmine Angola beauty pageant, placing it in the long genealogy of the freak show. In these capacious case studies Young situates South African performance within African diasporic circuits of meaning throughout Africa, North America, and South Asia, demonstrating how performative engagement with archival absence can locate that which was never recorded.
Throughout the nineteenth century, African heritage played an important role in black America, as personal memories and cultural practices continued to shape the everyday experience of people of African descent living under the shadow of slavery. Resisting efforts to de-Africanize their values, customs, and beliefs, black Americans invoked their African roots in public arguments about their identity and place in the "new" world. At the outset of the twentieth century many still saw Africa primarily as the source of a common cultural and spiritual past. But after the 1920s, the meaning of African heritage changed as people of African descent expressed new relationships between themselves, the United States, and the African Diaspora.
In The Insistent Call, Aric Putnam studies the rhetoric of newspapers, literature, and political pamphlets that expressed this shift. He demonstrates that as people of African descent debated the United States' occupation of Haiti, the Liberian labor crisis, and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, they formed a new collective identity, one that understood the African Diaspora in primarily political rather than cultural terms. In addition to uncovering a neglected period in the history of black rhetoric, Putnam shows how rhetoric that articulates the interests of a population not defined by the boundaries of a state can still motivate collective action and influence policies.
Listening to Images
Tina M. Campt Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress TR183.C366 2017
In Listening to Images Tina M. Campt explores a way of listening closely to photography, engaging with lost archives of historically dismissed photographs of black subjects taken throughout the black diaspora. Engaging with photographs through sound, Campt looks beyond what one usually sees and attunes her senses to the other affective frequencies through which these photographs register. She hears in these photos—which range from late nineteenth-century ethnographic photographs of rural African women and photographs taken in an early twentieth-century Cape Town prison to postwar passport photographs in Birmingham, England and 1960s mug shots of the Freedom Riders—a quiet intensity and quotidian practices of refusal. Originally intended to dehumanize, police, and restrict their subjects, these photographs convey the softly buzzing tension of colonialism, the low hum of resistance and subversion, and the anticipation and performance of a future that has yet to happen. Engaging with discourses of fugitivity, black futurity, and black feminist theory, Campt takes these tools of colonialism and repurposes them, hearing and sharing their moments of refusal, rupture, and imagination.
With Volume XI: The Caribbean Diaspora, 1910–1920, Duke University Press proudly assumes publication of the final volumes of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. This invaluable archival project documents the impact and spread of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the organization founded by Marcus Garvey in 1914 and led by him until his death in 1940. Volume XI is the first to focus on the Caribbean, where the UNIA was represented by more than 170 divisions and chapters. Revealing the connections between the major African-American mass movement of the interwar era and the struggle of the Caribbean people for independence, this volume includes the letters, speeches, and writings of Caribbean Garveyites and their opponents, as well as documents and speeches by Garvey, newspaper articles, colonial correspondence and memoranda, and government investigative records. Volume XI covers the period from 1911, when a controversy was ignited in Limon, Costa Rica, in response to a letter that Garvey sent to the Limon Times, until 1920, when workers on the Panama Canal undertook a strike sponsored in part by the UNIA. The primary documents are extensively annotated, and the volume includes twenty-two critical commentaries on the territories covered in the book, from the Bahamas to Guatemala, and Haiti to Brazil. A trove of scholarly resources, Volume XI: The Caribbean Diaspora, 1910–1920 illuminates another chapter in the history of one the world’s most important social movements.
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
Volume XII of the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers covers a period of twelve months, from the opening of the UNIA's historic first international convention in New York, in August 1920, to Marcus Garvey's return to the United States in July 1921 after an extended tour of Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. In many ways the 1920 convention marked the high-point of the Garvey movement in the United States, while Garvey's tour of the Caribbean, in the winter and spring of 1921, registered the greatest outpouring of popular support for the UNIA in its history. The period covered in the present volume was the moment of the movement's political apotheosis, as well as the moment when the finances of Garvey's Black Star Line went into free fall.
Volume XII highlights the centrality of the Caribbean people not only to the convention, but also to the movement. The reports to the convention discussed the range of social and economic conditions obtaining in the Caribbean, particularly their impact on racial conditions. The quality of the discussions and debates were impressive. Contained in these reports are some of the earliest and most clearly enunciated statements in defense of social and political freedom in the Caribbean. These documents form an underappreciated and still underutilized record of the political awakening of Caribbean people of African descent.
Volume XIII of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers covers the twelve months between the UNIA's second international convention in New York in August 1921 and the third convention in August 1922. It was a particularly tumultuous time for Garvey and the UNIA: Garvey’s relationship with the UNIA's top leadership began to fracture, the U.S. federal government charged Garvey with mail fraud, and his Black Star Line operation suffered massive financial losses. This period also witnessed a marked shift in Garvey's rhetoric and stance, as he retreated from his previously radical anticolonial positions, sought to court European governments as well as the leadership of the Ku Klux Klan, and moved against his political rivals.
Despite these difficult and uncertain times, Garveyism expanded its reach throughout the Caribbean archipelago, which, as Volume XIII confirms, became the UNIA's de facto home in the early 1920s. The volume's numerous reports from the UNIA's Caribbean divisions and chapters describe what it was like for UNIA activists living and working under extremely repressive circumstances. The volume's major highlight covers the U.S. military's crackdown on the UNIA in the Dominican Republic, as documented in the correspondence between John Sydney de Bourg—whom Garvey had dispatched to monitor the situation—and U.S. and British government officials.
In addition to UNIA divisional reports and de Bourg's extensive correspondence, Volume XIII contains a wealth of newspaper articles, political tracts, official documents, and other sources that outline the complex responses to Garveyism throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe, all the while documenting this watershed moment for Garvey and the UNIA.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Black German women began to play significant roles in challenging the discrimination in their own nation and abroad. Their grassroots organizing, writings, and political and cultural activities nurtured innovative traditions, ideas, and practices. These strategies facilitated new, often radical bonds between people from disparate backgrounds across the Black Diaspora.
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.
Investigating how the fraught political economy of migration impacts people around the world, Donald Martin Carter raises important issues about contemporary African diasporic movements. Developing the notion of the anthropology of invisibility, he explores the trope of navigation in social theory intent on understanding the lived experiences of transnational migrants.
Carter examines invisibility in its various forms, from social rejection and residential segregation to war memorials and the inability of some groups to represent themselves through popular culture, scholarship, or art. The pervasiveness of invisibility is not limited to symbolic actions, Carter shows, but may have dramatic and at times catastrophic consequences for people subjected to its force. The geographic span of his analysis is global, encompassing Senegalese Muslims in Italy and the United States and concluding with practical questions about the future of European societies. Carter also considers both contemporary and historical constellations of displacement, from Darfurian refugees to French West African colonial soldiers.
Whether focusing on historical photographs, television, print media, and graffiti scrawled across urban walls or identifying the critique of colonialism implicit in African films and literature, Carter reveals a protean and peopled world in motion.
This anthology presents a new study of the worldwide African diaspora by bringing together diverse, multidisciplinary scholarship to address the connectedness of Black subject identities, experiences, issues, themes, and topics, applying them dynamically to diverse locations of the Blackworld—Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States. The book underscores three dimensions of African diaspora study. First is a global approach to the African diaspora, showing how globalism underscores the distinctive role that Africa plays in contributing to world history. Second is the extension of African diaspora study in a geographical scope to more robust inclusions of not only the African continent but also to uncharted paths and discoveries of lesser-known diaspora experiences and identities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Third is the illustration of universal unwritten cultural representations of humanities in the African diasporas that show the distinctive humanities’ disciplinary representations of Black diaspora imaginaries and subjectivities. The contributing authors inductively apply these themes to focus the reader’s attention on contemporary localized issues and historical arenas of the African diaspora. They engage their findings to critically analyze the broader norms and dimensions that characterize a given set of interrelated criteria that have come to establish parameters that increasingly standardize African diaspora studies.
From well-known intellectuals such as Frederick Douglass and Nella Larsen to often-obscured thinkers such as Amina Baraka and Bernardo Ruiz Suárez, black theorists across the globe have engaged in sustained efforts to create insurgent and resilient forms of thought. New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition is a collection of twelve essays that explores these and other theorists and their contributions to diverse strains of political, social, and cultural thought.
The book examines four central themes within the black intellectual tradition: black internationalism, religion and spirituality, racial politics and struggles for social justice, and black radicalism. The essays identify the emergence of black thought within multiple communities internationally, analyze how black thinkers shaped and were shaped by the historical moment in which they lived, interrogate the ways in which activists and intellectuals connected their theoretical frameworks across time and space, and assess how these strains of thought bolstered black consciousness and resistance worldwide.
Defying traditional temporal and geographical boundaries, New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition illuminates the origins of and conduits for black ideas, redefines the relationship between black thought and social action, and challenges long-held assumptions about black perspectives on religion, race, and radicalism. The intellectuals profiled in the volume reshape and redefine the contours and boundaries of black thought, further illuminating the depth and diversity of the black intellectual tradition.
Yoruba culture has been a part of the Americas for centuries, brought from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade and maintained in various forms ever since. In Oduduwa’s Chain, Andrew Apter explores a wide range of fascinating historical and ethnographic examples and offers a provocative rethinking of African heritage in Black Atlantic Studies.
Focusing on Yoruba history and culture in Nigeria, Apter applies a generative model of cultural revision that allows him to identify formative Yoruba influences without resorting to the idea that culture and tradition are fixed. For example, Apter shows how the association of African gods with Catholic saints can be seen as a strategy of empowerment, explores historical locations of Yoruba gender ideologies and their variations in the Atlantic world, and much more. He concludes with a rousing call for a return to Africa in studies of the Black Atlantic, resurrecting a critical notion of culture that allows us to transcend Western inventions of African while taking them into account.
What is the meaning of blackness in Africa? While much has been written on Africa’s complex ethnic and tribal relationships, Jemima Pierre’s groundbreaking The Predicament of Blackness is the first book to tackle the question of race in West Africa through its postcolonial manifestations. Challenging the view of the African continent as a nonracialized space—as a fixed historic source for the African diaspora—she envisions Africa, and in particular the nation of Ghana, as a place whose local relationships are deeply informed by global structures of race, economics, and politics.
Against the backdrop of Ghana’s history as a major port in the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent and disruptive forces of colonialism and postcolonialism, Pierre examines key facets of contemporary Ghanaian society, from the pervasive significance of “whiteness” to the practice of chemical skin-bleaching to the government’s active promotion of Pan-African “heritage tourism.” Drawing these and other examples together, she shows that race and racism have not only persisted in Ghana after colonialism, but also that the beliefs and practices of this modern society all occur within a global racial hierarchy. In doing so, she provides a powerful articulation of race on the continent and a new way of understanding contemporary Africa—and the modern African diaspora.
Employing rootedness as a way of understanding identity has increasingly been subjected to acerbic political and theoretical critiques. Politically, roots narratives have been criticized for attempting to police identity through a politics of purity—excluding anyone who doesn’t share the same narrative. Theoretically, a critique of essentialism has led to a suspicion against essence and origins regardless of their political implications.
The central argument of Queer Roots for the Diaspora is that, in spite of these debates, ultimately the desire for roots contains the “roots” of its own deconstruction. The book considers alternative root narratives that acknowledge the impossibility of returning to origins with any certainty; welcome sexual diversity; acknowledge their own fictionality; reveal that even a single collective identity can be rooted in multiple ways; and create family trees haunted by the queer others patrilineal genealogy seems to marginalize.
The roots narratives explored in this book simultaneously assert and question rooted identities within a number of diasporas—African, Jewish, and Armenian. By looking at these together, one can discern between the local specificities of any single diaspora and the commonalities inherent in diaspora as a global phenomenon. This comparatist, interdisciplinary study will interest scholars in a diversity of fields, including diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, LGBTQ studies, French and Francophone studies, American studies, comparative literature, and literary theory.
In Queering Black Atlantic Religions Roberto Strongman examines Haitian Vodou, Cuban Lucumí/Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé to demonstrate how religious rituals of trance possession allow humans to understand themselves as embodiments of the divine. In these rituals, the commingling of humans and the divine produces gender identities that are independent of biological sex. As opposed to the Cartesian view of the spirit as locked within the body, the body in Afro-diasporic religions is an open receptacle. Showing how trance possession is a primary aspect of almost all Afro-diasporic cultural production, Strongman articulates transcorporeality as a black, trans-Atlantic understanding of the human psyche, soul, and gender as multiple, removable, and external to the body.
An exceptional resource, this comprehensive reader brings together primary and secondary documents related to efforts to redress historical wrongs against African Americans. These varied efforts are often grouped together under the rubric “reparations movement,” and they are united in their goal of “repairing” the injustices that have followed from the long history of slavery and Jim Crow. Yet, as this collection reveals, there is a broad range of opinions as to the form that repair might take. Some advocates of redress call for apologies; others for official acknowledgment of wrongdoing; and still others for more tangible reparations: monetary compensation, government investment in disenfranchised communities, the restitution of lost property and rights, and repatriation.
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.
In Jamaican dancehalls competition for the video camera's light is stiff, so much so that dancers sometimes bleach their skin to enhance their visibility. In the Bahamas, tuxedoed students roll into prom in tricked-out sedans, staging grand red-carpet entrances that are designed to ensure they are seen being photographed. Throughout the United States and Jamaica friends pose in front of hand-painted backgrounds of Tupac, flashy cars, or brand-name products popularized in hip-hop culture in countless makeshift roadside photography studios. And visual artists such as Kehinde Wiley remix the aesthetic of Western artists with hip-hop culture in their portraiture. In Shine, Krista Thompson examines these and other photographic practices in the Caribbean and United States, arguing that performing for the camera is more important than the final image itself. For the members of these African diasporic communities, seeking out the camera's light—whether from a cell phone, Polaroid, or video camera—provides a means with which to represent themselves in the public sphere. The resulting images, Thompson argues, become their own forms of memory, modernity, value, and social status that allow for cultural formation within and between African diasporic communities.
Pentecostalism is currently the fastest-growing Christian movement, with hundreds of millions of followers. This growth overwhelmingly takes place outside of the West, and women make up 75 percent of the membership. The contributors to Spirit on the Move examine Pentecostalism's appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community and access to power. Exploring a range of topics, from Neo-Pentecostal churches in Ghana that help women challenge gender norms to evangelical gospel musicians in Brazil, the contributors show how Pentecostalism helps black women draw attention to and seek remediation from the violence and injustices brought on by civil war, capitalist exploitation, racism, and the failures of the state. In fleshing out the experiences, theologies, and innovations of black women Pentecostals, the contributors show how Pentecostal belief and its various practices reflect the movement's complexity, reach, and adaptability to specific cultural and political formations.
Contributors. Paula Aymer, John Burdick, Judith Casselberry, Deidre Helen Crumbley, Elizabeth McAlister, Laura Premack, Elizabeth A. Pritchard, Jane Soothill, Linda van de Kamp
Nadia Ellis attends to African diasporic belonging as it comes into being through black expressive culture. Living in the diaspora, Ellis asserts, means existing between claims to land and imaginative flights unmoored from the earth—that is, to live within the territories of the soul. Drawing on the work of Jose Muñoz, Ellis connects queerness' utopian potential with diasporic aesthetics. Occupying the territory of the soul, being neither here nor there, creates in diasporic subjects feelings of loss, desire, and a sensation of a pull from elsewhere. Ellis locates these phenomena in the works of C.L.R. James, the testy encounter between George Lamming and James Baldwin at the 1956 Congress of Negro Artists and Writers in Paris, the elusiveness of the queer diasporic subject in Andrew Salkey's novel Escape to an Autumn Pavement, and the trope of spirit possession in Nathaniel Mackey's writing and Burning Spear's reggae. Ellis' use of queer and affect theory shows how geographies claim diasporic subjects in ways that nationalist or masculinist tropes can never fully capture. Diaspora, Ellis concludes, is best understood as a mode of feeling and belonging, one fundamentally shaped by the experience of loss.
The Things That Fly in the Night explores images of vampirism in Caribbean and African diasporic folk traditions and in contemporary fiction. Giselle Liza Anatol focuses on the figure of the soucouyant, or Old Hag—an aged woman by day who sheds her skin during night’s darkest hours in order to fly about her community and suck the blood of her unwitting victims. In contrast to the glitz, glamour, and seductiveness of conventional depictions of the European vampire, the soucouyant triggers unease about old age and female power. Tracing relevant folklore through the English- and French-speaking Caribbean, the U.S. Deep South, and parts of West Africa, Anatol shows how tales of the nocturnal female bloodsuckers not only entertain and encourage obedience in pre-adolescent listeners, but also work to instill particular values about women’s “proper” place and behaviors in society at large.
Alongside traditional legends, Anatol considers the explosion of soucouyant and other vampire narratives among writers of Caribbean and African heritage who in the past twenty years have rejected the demonic image of the character and used her instead to urge for female mobility, racial and cultural empowerment, and anti colonial resistance. Texts include work by authors as diverse as Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, U.S. National Book Award winner Edwidge Danticat, and science fiction/fantasy writers Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson.