When Aaron Henry returned home to Mississippi from World War II service in 1946, he was part of wave of black servicemen who challenged the racial status quo. He became a pharmacist through the GI Bill, and as a prominent citizen, he organized a hometown chapter of the NAACP and relatively quickly became leader of the state chapter.
From that launching pad he joined and helped lead an ensemble of activists who fundamentally challenged the system of segregation and the almost total exclusion of African Americans from the political structure. These efforts were most clearly evident in his leadership of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation, which, after an unsuccessful effort to unseat the lily-white Democratic delegation at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, won recognition from the national party in 1968.
The man who the New York Times described as being “at the forefront of every significant boycott, sit-in, protest march, rally, voter registration drive and court case” eventually became a rare example of a social-movement leader who successfully moved into political office. Aaron Henry of Mississippi covers the life of this remarkable leader, from his humble beginnings in a sharecropping family to his election to the Mississippi house of representatives in 1979, all the while maintaining the social-change ideology that prompted him to improve his native state, and thereby the nation.
Many of the English translations of Indigenous languages that we commonly use today have been handed down from colonial missionaries whose intent was to fundamentally alter or destroy prior Indigenous knowledge and praxis. In this text, author Mark D. Freeland develops a theory of worldview that provides an interrelated logical mooring to shed light on the issues around translating Indigenous languages in and out of colonial languages. In tandem with other linguistic and narrative methods, this theory of worldview can be employed to help root out the reproduction of colonial culture in Indigenous languages and can be a useful addition to the repertoire of tools needed to return to life-giving relationships with our environment. These issues of decolonization are highlighted in the trajectory of treaty language associated with relationships to land and their present-day importance. This book uses the 1836 Treaty of Washington and its contemporary manifestation in Great Lakes fishing rights and the State of Michigan’s 2007 Inland Consent Decree as a means of identifying the role of worldview in deciphering the logics embedded in Anishinaabe thought associated with these relationships to land. A fascinating study for students of Indigenous and linguistic disciplines, this book deftly demonstrates the significance of worldview theory in relation to the logics of decolonization of Indigenous thought and praxis.
For Native peoples of California, the abalone found along the state’s coast have remarkably complex significance as food, spirit, narrative symbol, tradable commodity, and material with which to make adornment and sacred regalia. The large mollusks also represent contemporary struggles surrounding cultural identity and political sovereignty. Abalone Tales, a collaborative ethnography, presents different perspectives on the multifaceted material and symbolic relationships between abalone and the Ohlone, Pomo, Karuk, Hupa, and Wiyot peoples of California. The research agenda, analyses, and writing strategies were determined through collaborative relationships between the anthropologist Les W. Field and Native individuals and communities. Several of these individuals contributed written texts or oral stories for inclusion in the book.
Tales about abalone and their historical and contemporary meanings are related by Field and his coauthors, who include the chair and other members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; a Point Arena Pomo elder; the chair of the Wiyot tribe and her sister; several Hupa Indians; and a Karuk scholar, artist, and performer. Reflecting the divergent perspectives of various Native groups and people, the stories and analyses belie any presumption of a single, unified indigenous understanding of abalone. At the same time, they shed light on abalone’s role in cultural revitalization, struggles over territory, tribal appeals for federal recognition, and connections among California’s Native groups. While California’s abalone are in danger of extinction, their symbolic power appears to surpass even the environmental crises affecting the state’s vulnerable coastline.
Abandoning the Black Hero is the first book to examine the postwar African American white-life novel—novels with white protagonists written by African Americans. These fascinating works have been understudied despite having been written by such defining figures in the tradition as Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, and Chester Himes, as well as lesser known but formerly best-selling authors Willard Motley and Frank Yerby.
John C. Charles argues that these fictions have been overlooked because they deviate from two critical suppositions: that black literature is always about black life and that when it represents whiteness, it must attack white supremacy. The authors are, however, quite sympathetic in the treatment of their white protagonists, which Charles contends should be read not as a failure of racial pride but instead as a strategy for claiming creative freedom, expansive moral authority, and critical agency.
In an era when “Negro writers” were expected to protest, their sympathetic treatment of white suffering grants these authors a degree of racial privacy previously unavailable to them. White writers, after all, have the privilege of racial privacy because they are never pressured to write only about white life. Charles reveals that the freedom to abandon the “Negro problem” encouraged these authors to explore a range of new genres and themes, generating a strikingly diverse body of novels that significantly revise our understanding of mid-twentieth-century black writing.
A hard-hitting look at the regulation of sexual difference and its role in circumscribing African American culture.
The sociology of race relations in America typically describes an intersection of poverty, race, and economic discrimination. But what is missing from the picture--sexual difference--can be as instructive as what is present. In this ambitious work, Roderick A. Ferguson reveals how the discourses of sexuality are used to articulate theories of racial difference in the field of sociology. He shows how canonical sociology--Gunnar Myrdal, Ernest Burgess, Robert Park, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William Julius Wilson--has measured African Americans' unsuitability for a liberal capitalist order in terms of their adherence to the norms of a heterosexual and patriarchal nuclear family model. In short, to the extent that African Americans' culture and behavior deviated from those norms, they would not achieve economic and racial equality.
Aberrations in Black tells the story of canonical sociology's regulation of sexual difference as part of its general regulation of African American culture. Ferguson places this story within other stories--the narrative of capital's emergence and development, the histories of Marxism and revolutionary nationalism, and the novels that depict the gendered and sexual idiosyncrasies of African American culture--works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Toni Morrison. In turn, this book tries to present another story--one in which people who presumably manifest the dysfunctions of capitalism are reconsidered as indictments of the norms of state, capital, and social science. Ferguson includes the first-ever discussion of a new archival discovery--a never-published chapter of Invisible Man that deals with a gay character in a way that complicates and illuminates Ellison's project.
Unique in the way it situates critiques of race, gender, and sexuality within analyses of cultural, economic, and epistemological formations, Ferguson's work introduces a new mode of discourse--which Ferguson calls queer of color analysis--that helps to lay bare the mutual distortions of racial, economic, and sexual portrayals within sociology.
Roderick A. Ferguson is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.
Jake Adam York Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3625.O747A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Winner, 2015 Colorado Book Award
Finalist, 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award
In the years leading up to his recent passing, Alabama poet Jake Adam York set out on a journey to elegize the 126 martyrs of the civil rights movement, murdered in the years between 1954 and 1968. Abide is the stunning follow-up to York’s earlier volumes, a memorial in verse for those fallen. From Birmingham to Okemah, Memphis to Houston, York’s poems both mourn and inspire in their quest for justice, ownership, and understanding.
Within are anthems to John Earl Reese, a sixteen-year-old shot by Klansmen through the window of a café in Mayflower, Texas, where he was dancing in 1955; to victims lynched on the Oklahoma prairies; to the four children who perished in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963; and to families who saw the white hoods of the Klan illuminated by burning crosses. Juxtaposed with these horrors are more loving images of the South: the aroma of greens simmering on the stove, “tornado-strong” houses built by loved ones long gone, and the power of rivers “dark as roux.”
Throughout these lush narratives, York resurrects the ghosts of Orpheus, Sun Ra, Howlin’ Wolf, Thelonious Monk, Woody Guthrie, and more, summoning blues, jazz, hip-hop, and folk musicians for performances of their “liberation music” that give special meaning to the tales of the dead.
In the same moment that Abide memorializes the fallen, it also raises the ethical questions faced by York during this, his life’s work: What does it mean to elegize? What does it mean to elegize martyrs? What does it mean to disturb the symmetries of the South’s racial politics or its racial poetics?
A bittersweet elegy for the poet himself, Abide is as subtle and inviting as the whisper of a record sleeve, the gasp of the record needle, beckoning us to heed our history.
In Abject Performances Leticia Alvarado draws out the irreverent, disruptive aesthetic strategies used by Latino artists and cultural producers who shun standards of respectability that are typically used to conjure concrete minority identities. In place of works imbued with pride, redemption, or celebration, artists such as Ana Mendieta, Nao Bustamante, and the Chicano art collective known as Asco employ negative affects—shame, disgust, and unbelonging—to capture experiences that lie at the edge of the mainstream, inspirational Latino-centered social justice struggles. Drawing from a diverse expressive archive that ranges from performance art to performative testimonies of personal faith-based subjection, Alvarado illuminates modes of community formation and social critique defined by a refusal of identitarian coherence that nonetheless coalesce into Latino affiliation and possibility.
In recent years, public debate has raged over the issue of maternal choice. While personal testimony and political argument have received widespread attention, artistic representations of birth and abortion have been submerged. Judith Wilt offers the first look at how contemporary writers tell and retell the stories that shape our perceptions about abortion. She reveals that the struggle to plot these painful, complex narratives of choice, control, guilt, loss, and liberation has preoccupied an astonishing number of our most distinguished novelists, male and female alike. Readers of twentieth-century novels are more likely to encounter plots centered on maternal choice than those dealing with the more traditional problems of courtship and marriage.
In the opening of the book, Wilt discusses real case histories of several women. After studying the ambiguities of their decisions, she turns to their counterpoints depicted in contemporary fiction. Working from a feminist perspective, Wilt traces the theme of maternal choice in works by Margaret Atwood, Margaret Drabble, Joan Didion, Mary Gordon, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Marge Piercy, Thomas Keneally, Graham Swift, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Barth, John Irving, and others.
Behind the political, medical, and moral debates on abortion, Wilt argues, is a profound psychocultural shock at the recognition that maternity is passing from the domain of instinct to that of conscious choice. Although never wholly instinctual, maternity's potential capture by consciousness raises complex questions. The novels Wilt discusses portray worlds in which principles are endangered by sexual inequality, male power and hidden male fear of abandonment, impotence, female submission, and covert rage, and, in the case of black maternity, the hideous aftermath of slavery.
Wilt provides a resonant new context for debates—whether political or personal—on the issue of abortion and maternal choice. Ultimately she enables us to rethink how we shape our own identities and lives.
Craig Blais University of Wisconsin Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3602.L337A64 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
An unsentimental and at times disquieting first collection, the poems of About Crows excavate self, family, race, location, sex, art, and religion to uncover the artifacts of a succession of traumas that the speaker does not always experience firsthand but carries with him to refashion into some new importance. This is a book of half-states, broken affiliations, and dislocation.
The speaker leads the reader through the fragments of a flooded town that grows increasingly elusive the more one looks for it; through a succession of Seoul "love motels" that further displace the outsider to unclaimed margins transformed into sites of creative invention; through "galleries" of artwork, where movement, color, and image are renewed through ekphrasis; and through the world of the metatextual long poem "The Cult Poem," where good and bad moral binaries tangle into a rat's nest of our best and worst spiritual ambitions.
The poems and sequences of About Crows are marked by their artistic balance of the sublime and the profane, of polyphony, syntactical complexity, clashing images, cagey humor, and unsettling sincerity, all trying desperately to connect.
About the Dead
Travis Mossotti Utah State University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3613.O788A64 2011 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Travis Mossotti writes with humor, gravity, and humility about subjects grounded in a world of grit, where the quiet mortality of working folk is weighed. To Mossotti, the love of a bricklayer for his wife is as complex and simple as life itself: “ask him to put into words what that sinking is, / that shudder in his chest, as he notices / the wrinkles gathering at the corners of her mouth.” But not a whiff of sentiment enters these poems, for Mossotti has little patience for ideas of the noble or for sympathetic portraits of hard-used saints. His vision is clear, as clear as the memory of how scarecrows in the rearview, “each of them, stuffed / into a body they didn’t choose, resembled / your own plight.” His poetry embraces unsanctimonious life with all its wonder, its levity, and clumsiness. About the Dead is an accomplished collection by a writer in control of a wide range of experience, and it speaks to the heart of any reader willing to catch his “drift, and ride it like the billowed / end of some cockamamie parachute all the way / back to the soft, dysfunctional, waiting earth.”
In about:blank, Tracy Fuad builds a poetics of contemporary dissociation. Funny, plaintive, and cutting, this formally inventive debut probes alienation in place and in language through the author’s consideration of her own relationship to Iraqi Kurdistan. about:blank—the title of which is the universal URL for a blank web page—complicates questions of longing and belonging. Interrogating the language of internet chatrooms, Yelp reviews, and the Kurdish dictionary, the poems here leap surprisingly between subjects to find new meaning.
Written before and during the years the author spent living in Iraqi Kurdistan, the collection documents the alienation of being inside, outside, and between language(s) and the always-already terror of grammar. At once haunted and humorous, about:blank inhabits and exhibits the disorientation and fragmentation that is endemic to the internet era, and mourns the loss of a more embodied existence.
Above the American Renaissance takes David S. Reynolds's classic study Beneath the American Renaissance as a model and a provocation to consider how language and concepts broadly defined as spiritual are essential to understanding nineteenth-century American literary culture. In the 1980s, Reynolds's scholarship and methodology enlivened investigations of religious culture, and since then, for reasons that include a rising respect for interdisciplinarity and the aftershocks of the 9/11 attacks, religion in literature has become a major area of inquiry for Americanists. In essays that reconsider and contextualize Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Abraham Lincoln, and others, this volume captures the vibrancy of spiritual considerations in American literary studies and points a way forward within literary and spiritual investigations.
In addition to the editors and David S. Reynolds, contributors include Jeffrey Bilbro, Dawn Coleman, Jonathan A. Cook, Tracy Fessenden, Zachary Hutchins, Richard Kopley, Mason I. Lowance Jr., John Matteson, Christopher N. Phillips, Vivian Pollak, Michael Robertson, Gail K. Smith, Claudia Stokes, and Timothy Sweet.
Above the Birch Line: Poems
Pia Taavila-Borsheim Gallaudet University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3620.A23A66 2021 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Above the Birch Line reflects a lifetime of observation and experience, and offers glimpses of the loves, aches, and comforts that have accompanied author Pia Taavila-Borsheim along the way. Written primarily in free verse, the poems are imagistic in nature, with an ongoing metaphor of visual representations of nature, especially water. Starting with her childhood and continuing through late adulthood, Taavila-Borsheim ruminates on her parents, travels, marriage, motherhood, and finally, aging and death.
In Above Time, James R. Guthrie explores the origins of the two preeminent transcendentalists' revolutionary approaches to time, as well as to the related concepts of history, memory, and change. Most critical discussions of this period neglect the important truth that the entire American transcendentalist project involved a transcendence of temporality as well as of materiality. Correspondingly, both writers call in their major works for temporal reform, to be achieved primarily by rejecting the past and future in order to live in an amplified present moment.
Emerson and Thoreau were compelled to see time in a new light by concurrent developments in the sciences and the professions. Geologists were just then hotly debating the age of the earth, while zoologists were beginning to unravel the mysteries of speciation, and archaeologists were deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs. These discoveries worked collectively to enlarge the scope of time, thereby helping pave the way for the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
Well aware of these wider cultural developments, Emerson and Thoreau both tried (although with varying degrees of success) to integrate contemporary scientific thought with their preexisting late-romantic idealism. As transcendentalists, they already believed in the existence of "correspondences"—affinities between man and nature, formalized as symbols. These symbols could then be decoded to discover the animating presence in the world of eternal laws as pervasive as the laws of science. Yet unlike scientists, Emerson and Thoreau hoped to go beyond merely understanding nature to achieving a kind of passionate identity with it, and they believed that such a union might be achieved only if time was first recognized as being a purely human construct with little or no validity in the rest of the natural world. Consequently, both authors employ a series of philosophical, rhetorical, and psychological strategies designed to jolt their readers out of time, often by attacking received cultural notions about temporality.
As the first African-American fiction writer to achieve a national reputation, Ohio native Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932) in many ways established the terms of the black literary tradition now exemplified by such writers as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Charles Johnson.
Following the highly autobiographical nonfiction produced by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and other slave narrative writers, Chesnutt’s complex, multi-layered short fiction transformed the relationship between African-American writers and their readers. But despite generous praise from W. D. Howells and other important critics of his day, and from such prominent readers as William L. Andrews, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Eric Sundquist in ours, Chesnutt occupies a curiously ambiguous place in American literary history.
In The Absent Man, Charles Duncan demonstrates that Chesnutt’s uneasy position in the American literary tradition can be traced to his remarkable narrative subtlety. Profoundly aware of the delicacy of his situation as a black intellectual at the turn of the century, Chesnutt infused his work with an intricate, enigmatic artistic vision that defies monolithic or unambiguously political interpretation, especially with regard to issues of race and identity that preoccupied him throughout his career.
In this first book-length study of the innovative short fiction, Duncan devotes particular attention to elucidating these sophisticated narrative strategies as the grounding for Chesnutt’s inauguration of a tradition of African-American fiction.
As the first African-American fiction writer to achieve a national reputation, Ohio native Charles W. Chesnutt (1858—1932) in many ways established the terms of the black literary tradition now exemplified by such writers as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Charles Johnson.
Following the highly autobiographical nonfiction produced by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and other slave narrative writers, Chesnutt's complex, multi-layered short fiction transformed the relationship between African-American writers and their readers. But despite generous praise from W. D. Howells and other important critics of his day, and from such prominent readers as William L. Andrews, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Eric Sundquist in ours, Chesnutt occupies a curiously ambiguous place in American literary history.
In The Absent Man, Charles Duncan demonstrates that Chesnutt's uneasy position in the American literary tradition can be traced to his remarkable narrative subtlety. Profoundly aware of the delicacy of his situation as a black intellectual at the turn of the century, Chesnutt infused his work with an intricate, enigmatic artistic vision that defies monolithic or unambiguously political interpretation, especially with regard to issues of race and identity that preoccupied him throughout his career.
In this first book-length study of the innovative short fiction, Duncan devotes particular attention to elucidating these sophisticated narrative strategies as the grounding for Chesnutt's inauguration of a tradition of African-American fiction.
Absentee Indians and Other Poems evokes personal yet universal experiences of the places that Native Americans call home, their family and national histories, and the emotional forces that help forge Native American identities. These are poems of exile, loss, and the celebration of that which remains. Anchored in the physical landscape, Blaeser’s poetry finds the sacred in those ordinary actions that bind a community together. As Blaeser turns to the mysterious passage from sleeping to wakefulness, or from nature to spirit, she reveals not merely the movement from one age or place to another, but the movement from experience to vision.
In Abstract Barrios Johana Londoño examines how Latinized urban landscapes are made palatable for white Americans. Such Latinized urban landscapes, she observes, especially appear when whites feel threatened by concentrations of Latinx populations, commonly known as barrios. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and visual analysis of barrio built environments, Londoño shows how over the past seventy years urban planners, architects, designers, policy makers, business owners, and other brokers took abstracted elements from barrio design—such as spatial layouts or bright colors—to safely “Latinize” cities and manage a long-standing urban crisis of Latinx belonging. The built environments that resulted ranged from idealized notions of authentic Puerto Rican culture in the interior design of New York City’s public housing in the 1950s, which sought to diminish concerns over Puerto Rican settlement, to the Fiesta Marketplace in downtown Santa Ana, California, built to counteract white flight in the 1980s. Ultimately, Londoño demonstrates that abstracted barrio culture and aesthetics sustain the economic and cultural viability of normalized, white, and middle-class urban spaces.
When The Absurd Hero in American Fiction was first released in 1966, Granville Hicks praised it in a lead article for the Saturday Review as a sensitive and definitive study of a new trend in postwar American literature. In the years that followed, David Galloway’s analysis of the writings of John Updike, William Styron, Saul Bellow, and J. D. Salinger became a standard critical work, an indispensable tool for readers concerned with contemporary American literature. The New York Times described the book as “a seminal study of the modern literary imagination.David Galloway, himself an established novelist, later extensively revised The Absurd Hero to include authoritative discussions of more than a dozen novels which had appeared since the first revised edition was released in 1970. Among them are John Updike’s Couples, Rabbit Redux, and The Coup; William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice; and Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet and Humboldt’s Gift. Through detailed analyses of these works, Galloway demonstrates the continuing relevance of his own provocative concept of the absurd hero and provides important insights into the literary achievements of four of America’s most influential postwar novelists.
To a greater extent than still widely assumed, the German scholar Aby Warburg drew, throughout his life, on the lessons of two of its early episodes: his travels of 1895–96 among Pueblo Indian communities in the North American Southwest, and his residence of 1896–97 in Berlin, which he prized as a center for the study of ethnography, ethnology, and anthropology. Over the next three decades, this pioneering thinker was able to affect a fruitful amalgamation of those disciplines with that of art history (in which he had himself been trained): the origin of a form of cultural studies that continues to exert an extraordinary intellectual allure. Quoting from Warburg’s diaries, notebooks, and correspondence, this newly translated study throws fresh light on a most eventful journey through the realm of ideas.
Accessible Citizenships examines Chicana/o cultural representations that conceptualize political community through images of disability. Working against the assumption that disability is a metaphor for social decay or political crisis, Julie Avril Minich analyzes literature, film, and visual art post-1980 in which representations of non-normative bodies work to expand our understanding of what it means to belong to a political community.
Minich shows how queer writers like Arturo Islas and Cherríe Moraga have reconceptualized Chicano nationalism through disability images. She further addresses how the U.S.-Mexico border and disabled bodies restrict freedom and movement. Finally, she confronts the changing role of the nation-state in the face of neoliberalism as depicted in novels by Ana Castillo and Cecile Pineda.
Accessible Citizenships illustrates how these works gesture towards less exclusionary forms of citizenship and nationalism. Minich boldly argues that the corporeal images used to depict national belonging have important consequences for how the rights and benefits of citizenship are understood and distributed.
The Accidental: Poems
Gina Franco University of Arkansas Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3606.R375A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Cascading through each of the poems in Gina Franco’s The Accidental is a question: What does it mean to be human in a world where the soul is exalted but the body brutalized? Franco explores the terrain of the borderlands—not just the physical space of the American southwest, but the spaces where lines are drawn between body and soul, God and self, violence and ecstasy. Unfolding along these borders in a torrent of deep contemplation, Franco’s poems bring the reader to the line between accident and choice, delving into the role each plays in creating the lives we are born into and in determining how those lives end. A body caught in a tree after a flood—an accident—calls to mind deliberate violences: crucifixion and lynching.
Guided, even so, by a stark hopefulness, The Accidental makes a character of the soul and traces its pilgrimage from suffering toward transcendence. “The soul saw,” Franco writes, “that it saw through the wound.” This book tenders a creation myth steeped in existential philosophy and shimmering with the vernacular of the ecstatic.
Accomplishing NAGPRA reveals the day-to-day reality of implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The diverse contributors to this timely volume reflect the viewpoints of tribes, museums, federal agencies, attorneys, academics, and others invested in the landmark act.
NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to return requested Native American cultural items to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawai’ian organizations. Since the 1990 passage of the act, museums and federal agencies have made more than one million cultural items—and the remains of nearly forty thousand Native Americans—available for repatriation.
Drawing on case studies, personal reflections, historical documents, and statistics, the volume examines NAGPRA and its grassroots, practical application throughout the United States.? Accomplishing NAGPRA will appeal to professionals and academics with an interest in cultural resource management, Indian and human rights law, Indigenous studies, social justice movements, and public policy.
Katie Peterson University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3616.E8429A63 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The death of a mother alters forever a family’s story of itself. Indeed, it taxes the ability of a family to tell that story at all. The Accounts narrates the struggle to speak with any clear understanding in the wake of that loss. The title poem attempts three explanations of the departure of a life from the earth—a physical account, a psychological account, and a spiritual account. It is embedded in a long narrative sequence that tries to state plainly the facts of the last days of the mother’s life, in a room that formerly housed a television, next to a California backyard. The visual focus of that sequence, a robin’s nest, poised above the family home, sings in a kind of lament, giving its own version of ways we can see the transformation of the dying into the dead. In other poems, called “Arguments,” two voices exchange uncertain truths about subjects as high as heaven and as low as crime. Grief is a problem that cannot be solved by thinking, but that doesn’t stop the mind, which relentlessly carries on, trying in vain to settle its accounts. The death of a well-loved person creates a debt that can never be repaid. It reminds the living of our own psychological debts to each other, and to the dead. In this sense, the death of this particular mother and the transformation of this particular family are evocative of a greater struggle against any changing reality, and the loss of all beautiful and passing forms of order.
Covering the entire body of Mark Twain's fiction, Clark Griffith in Achilles and the Tortoise answers two questions: How did Mark Twain write? And why is he funny? Griffith defines and demonstrates Mark Twain's poetics and, in doing so, reveals Twain's ability to create and sustain human laughter.
Through a close reading of the fictions–short and long, early and late–Griffith contends that Mark Twain's strength lay not in comedy or in satire or (as the 19th century understood the term) even in the practice of humor. Rather his genius lay in the joke, specifically the "sick joke." For all his finesse and seeming variety, Twain tells the same joke, with its single cast of doomed and damned characters, its single dead-end conclusion, over and over endlessly.
As he attempted to attain the comic resolution and comically transfigured characters he yearned for, Twain forever played, for Griffith, the role of the Achilles of Zeno's Paradox. Like the tortoise that Achilles cannot overtake in Zeno's tale, the richness of comic life forever remained outside Twain's grasp.
The last third of Griffith's study draws parallels between Mark Twain and Herman Melville. Although the two authors never met and seem not to have read each other's works, they labored under the sense of what, in Moby-Dick, Ishmael calls "a vast practical joke . . . at nobody's expense but [one's] own." The laughter occasioned by this cosmic conspiracy shapes the career of Huckleberry Finn fully as much as it does Ishmael's voyage. Out of the laughter are generated the respective obsessions of Captain Ahab and Bartleby, of Pudd'nhead Wilson and Hadleyburg. Reduced at last to a dry mock, the laughter is the prevailing tone of both Billy Budd and The Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts.
Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas discovers the prehistory of wireless culture. It examines both the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, and the various populist political climates in which the emerging medium of radio became the chosen means to produce the voice of the people.
Based on original archival research in Buenos Aires, Havana, Paris, and the United States, the book develops a literary media theory that understands sound as a transmedial phenomenon and radio as a transnational medium. Analyzing the construction of new social and political relations in the wake of the United States’ 1930s Good Neighbor Policy, Acoustic Properties challenges standard narratives of hemispheric influence through new readings of Richard Wright’s cinematic work in Argentina, Severo Sarduy’s radio plays in France, and novels by John Dos Passos, Manuel Puig, Raymond Chandler, and Carson McCullers. Alongside these writers, the book also explores Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s Radio Rebelde, FDR’s fireside chats, Félix Caignet’s invention of the radionovela in Cuba, Evita Perón’s populist melodramas in Argentina, Orson Welles’s experimental New Deal radio, Cuban and U.S. “radio wars,” and the 1960s African American activist Robert F. Williams’s proto–black power Radio Free Dixie.
From the doldrums of the Great Depression to the tumult of the Cuban Revolution, Acoustic Properties illuminates how novelists in the radio age converted writing into a practice of listening, transforming realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
ACROSS SPOON RIVER
Edgar Lee Masters University of Illinois Press, 1991 Library of Congress PS3525.A83Z463 1991 | Dewey Decimal 811.52
This intimate and provocative autobiography, first published in 1936,
reveals the innermost thoughts of a great American poet. Edgar Lee Masters
was a transitional figure in American literature with one foot planted
in the nineteenth century and the other firmly placed on the path of what
we now think of as the modern period.
Masters expounds on his own development as a poet and as a human being;
he shares his views on American culture, politics, and the literary criticism
of the times. Masters's friends and acquaintances discussed here include
some of the most prominent writers and politicians of his age. And he
reflects on his life events that shaped, haunted, and inspired his writings
of the classic Spoon River Anthology.
Across the Color Line: Reporting 25 Years in Black Cincinnati presents newspaper reporter Mark Curnutte’s stories published in The Cincinnati Enquirer over a twenty-five-year period beginning in 1993. With hard-won insights gained from years of community reporting, Curnutte describes experiences of African-Americans living in Cincinnati through individual and neighborhood profiles, explorations of community institutions, historical perspectives, and issue stories. The anthology tells a sweeping narrative of a city suffering and maturing through turn-of-the-century racial growing pains and increased racial sophistication and diversity. These stories are complimented by excerpts from Curnutte’s personal journal, providing his reflection on his role as a white man and reporter making the intentional decision to work and live across the color line.
If Asian Americans are to assume the role of bridge builders across the Pacific, what are the opportunities, the risks, the promises, and the perils? The answer to this question comes in eight groundbreaking essays in which contributors to Across the Pacific address issues of contemporary growth and diversification of Asian America in relation to the increasingly globalized economy. New meanings and practices of Asian Americans are considered in the atmosphere of global transformation that is present in the post-Civil Rights, post-Cold War, postmodern, and postcolonial era. This book explores, in descriptive and critical ways, how transnational relationships and interactions in Asian American communities are manifested, exemplified, and articulated within the international context of the Pacific Rim.
Members of the Asian American community have always been trans-Pacific, but are now more than ever, since the 1965 change in U.S. immigration law. Entering the U.S. at the culmination of the Civil Rights movement, Asians becoming Asian Americans have joined a self-consciously multicultural society. Asian economies roared onto the world stage, creating new markets while circulating capital and labor at an unprecedented scale and intensity, thereby helping drive the forces of modern globalization. These essays by well-known scholars in the field of Asian American studies consider such topics as the impact of new migrations on Asian American subjectivity and politics, Asian American activism and U.S. foreign policy, and the role of Asian Americans in Pacific Rim economies.
Considering issues of diaspora, transmigrancy, assimilation, institutionalized racism, and community, Across the Pacific covers such cutting-edge subjects as the cultural expressions of dislocation among contemporary Asian American writers, as well as the impact of the new migrations on Asian American subjectivity and politics.
Modern science fiction writers have long inhabited a dimension far removed from the comfortable realms of filmic space opera franchises and Dr. Who. Too often lurking along the margins of literature are some of the most intelligent, imaginative, and outrageous writing talents of our day. These interviews by legendary critic and SF proponent Larry McCaffery journeys into the minds and psyches of ten iconic writers whose works influenced the evolution of science fiction. Authors like Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Thomas Disch, Ursula Le Guin, and Bruce Sterling discuss New Wave, hard versus soft SF, and the viability of the genre as a means of suggesting political, radical, and sexual agendas. As these writers speak candidly about their works, backgrounds, and aesthetic impulses, it becomes clear that the issues on their minds and in their fiction are central to contemporary life and art.
Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X—their words speak firmly, eloquently, personally of the impact of white America on the lives of African-Americans. Black autobiographical discourses, from the earliest slave narratives to the most contemporary urban raps, have each in their own way gauged and confronted the character of white society. For Crispin Sartwell, as philosopher, cultural critic, and white male, these texts, through their exacting insights and external perspective, provide a rare opportunity, a means of glimpsing and gaining access to contents and core of white identity.
There is, Sartwell contends, a fundamental elusiveness to that identity. Whiteness defines itself as normative, as a neutral form of the human condition, marking all other forms of identity as "racial" or "ethnic" deviations. Invisible to itself, white identity seeks to define its essence over and against those other identities, in effect defining itself through opposition and oppression. By maintaining fictions of black licentiousness, violence, and corruption, white identity is able to cast itself as humane, benevolent, and pure; the stereotype fabricates not only the oppressed but the oppressor as well. Sartwell argues that African-American autobiography perceives white identity from a particular and unique vantage point; one that is knowledgeable and intimate, yet fundamentally removed from the white world and thus unencumbered by its obfuscating claims to normativity.
Throughout this provocative work, Sartwell steadfastly recognizes the many ways in which he too is implicated in the formulation and perpetuation of racial attitudes and discourse. In Act Like You Know, he challenges both himself and others to take a long, hard look in the mirror of African-American autobiography, and to find there, in the light of those narratives, the visible features of white identity.
One of the few books of its kind, Acting Up and Getting Down brings together seven African American literary voices that all have a connection to the Lone Star state. Covering Texas themes and universal ones, this collection showcases often-overlooked literary talents to bring to life inspiring facets of black theatre history.
Capturing the intensity of racial violence in Texas, from the Battle of San Jacinto to a World War I–era riot at a Houston training ground, Celeste Bedford Walker’s Camp Logan and Ted Shine’s Ancestors provide fascinating narratives through the lens of history. Thomas Meloncon’s Johnny B. Goode and George Hawkins’s Br’er Rabbit explore the cultural legacies of blues music and folktales. Three unflinching dramas (Sterling Houston’s Driving Wheel, Eugene Lee’s Killingsworth, and Elizabeth Brown-Guillory’s When the Ancestors Call) examine homosexuality, a death in the family, and child abuse, bringing to light the private tensions of intersections between the individual and the community.
Supplemented by a chronology of black literary milestones as well as a playwrights’ canon, Acting Up and Getting Down puts the spotlight on creative achievements that have for too long been excluded from Texas letters. The resulting anthology not only provides new insight into a regional experience but also completes the American story as told onstage.
Action Writing: Jack Kerouac's Wild Form connects the personal and creative development of the Beat generation's famous icon with cultural changes in postwar America. Michael Hrebeniak asserts that Jack Kerouac's "wild form"—self-organizing narratives free of literary, grammatical, and syntactical conventions—moves within an experimental continuum across the arts to generate a Dionysian sense of writing as raw process. Action Writing highlights how Kerouac made concrete his 1952 intimation of "something beyond the novel" by assembling ideas from Beat America, modernist poetics, action painting, bebop, and subterranean oral traditions.
Geared to scholars and students of American literature, Beat studies, and creative writing, Action Writing places Kerouac's writing within the context of the American art scene at midcentury. Reframing the work of Kerouac and the Beat generation within the experimental modernist and postmodernist literary tradition, this probing inquiry offers a direct engagement with the social and cultural history at the foreground of Kerouac's career from the 1940s to the late 1960s.
Found in scores of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American narratives, the action-adventure heroine leaves the domestic space to pursue an independent adventure. This bold heroine tramps alone through the forests, demonstrates tremendous physical strength, braves dangers without hesitation, enters the public realm to earn money, and even kills her enemies when necessary. Despite her transgressions of social norms, the narrator portrays this heroine in a positive light and lauds her for her bravery and daring. The Action-Adventure Heroine offers a wide-ranging look at this enigmatic character in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature.
Unlike the “tomboy” or the American frontierswoman, this more encompassing figure has been understudied until now. The action-adventure heroine has special relevance today, as scholars are forcefully challenging the once-dominant separate-spheres paradigm and offering alternative interpretations of gender conventions in nineteenth-century America. The hard-body action heroine in our contemporary popular culture is often assumed to be largely a product of the twentieth-century television and film industries (and therefore influenced by the women’s movement); however, physically strong, agile, sometimes violent female figures have appeared in American popular culture and literature for a very long time.
Smith analyzes captivity narratives, war narratives, stories of manifest destiny, dime novels, and tales of seduction to reveal the long literary history of female protagonists who step into traditionally masculine heroic roles to win the day. Smith’s study includes such authors as Herman Mann, Mercy Otis Warren, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, E.D.E.N. Southworth, Edward L. Wheeler, and many more who are due for critical reassessment. In examining the female hero—with her strength, physicality, and violence—in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century American narratives, The Action-Adventure Heroine represents an important contribution to the field of American studies.
SANDRA WILSON SMITH is an assistant professor of English at Temple University. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of American Studies, Southern Literary Journal, and E-Learning.
The community of San José, California, is a national model for social justice and community activism. This legacy has been hard earned. In the twentieth century, the activists of the city’s Mexican American community fought for equality in education and pay, better conditions in the workplace, better health care, and much more.
Sociologist and activist Josie Méndez-Negrete has returned to her hometown to document and record the stories of those who made contributions to the cultural and civic life of San José. Through interview excerpts, biographical and historical information, and analysis, Méndez-Negrete shows the contributions of this singular community throughout the twentieth century and the diversity of motivations across the generations.
Activists share with Méndez-Negrete how they became conscious about their communities and how they became involved in grassroots organizing, protest, and social action. Spanning generations, we hear about the motivations of activists in the 1930s to the end of the twentieth century. We hear firsthand stories of victories and struggles, successes and failures from those who participated.
Activist Leaders of San José narrates how parents—both mothers and fathers—were inspired to work for the rights of their people. Workers’ and education rights were at the core, but they also took on the elimination of at-large elections to open city politics, labor rights, domestic abuse, and health care. This book is an important record of the contributions of San José in improving conditions for the Mexican American community.
Activist Sentiments takes as its subject women who in fewer than fifty years moved from near literary invisibility to prolific productivity. Grounded in primary research and paying close attention to the historical archive, this book offers against-the-grain readings of the literary and activist work of Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Frances E. W. Harper, Victoria Earle Matthews and Amelia E. Johnson.
Part literary criticism and part cultural history, Activist Sentiments examines nineteenth-century social, political, and representational literacies and reading practices. P. Gabrielle Foreman reveals how Black women's complex and confrontational commentary–often expressed directly in their journalistic prose and organizational involvement--emerges in their sentimental, and simultaneously political, literary production.
The Addison Gayle Jr. Reader
Edited by Nathaniel Norment Jr. University of Illinois Press, 2008 Library of Congress PS153.N5G299 2009 | Dewey Decimal 810.9896073
This reader collects sixty of the personal essays, critical articles, and other seminal works of Addison Gayle Jr., one of the most influential figures in African American literary criticism and a key pioneer in the Black Arts/Black Aesthetic Movement. The volume contains selective essays that represent the range of Gayle's writing on such subjects as relationships between father and son, cultural nationalism, racism, black aesthetics, black criticism, and black literature. The collection, the first of its kind, includes definitive essays such as "Blueprint for Black Criticism," "The Harlem Renaissance: Toward a Black Aesthetic," and "Cultural Strangulation: Black Literature and the White Aesthetics."
Adjusting the Lens offers a detailed analysis of contemporary, independent, indigenous-language audiovisual production in Mexico and in Mexican migrant communities in the United States. The contributors relate the styles and forms of collaborative and community media production to socially critical, transformative, resistant, and constitutive processes off-screen, thereby exploring the political within the context of the media. The chapters show how diasporic media makers map novel interpretations of image and sound into existing audiovisual discourses to communicate social and cultural changes within their communities that counter stereotypical representations in commercial television and cinema, and contribute to a newfound communal identity. The new media expose the conflict of social movements and/or indigenous and rural communities with the state, challenge Eurocentrism and globalization, and reveal the power of audiovisual production to affect political change.
Praise for Martha Collins:
“A dazzling poet whose poetry is poised at the juncture between the lyric and ethics, Martha Collins has addressed some of the most traumatic social issues of the twentieth century . . . in supple and complex poems. . . .[N]o subject is off limits for her piercing intellect.”
—Cynthia Hogue, AWP Chronicle
Pat Mora University of Arizona Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3563.O73A66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Wine-sipping syllables, a communion of bones, impetuous pinches of chile, and parrot-sassy guacamole. With a mélange of aromas and tastes, colors and sounds, award-winning poet Pat Mora invites readers into her home in this new collection of forty-nine odes. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odas Elemantales and reinvented with a Latina identity, Mora celebrates the ordinary in lyrics that are anything but. Her poetry is the poetry of space—house patterns and adobe constructions—and the human rhythms that happen inside. It is also the poetry of what she loves—chocolate, books, dandelions, church bells, hope, courage, and even rain. Thick with the microcultures of foodstuffs, family, places, regions, deities, spirits, and literary figures, Mora’s adobe universe is luscious and tactile, elemental and dynamic.
From family gossip and beauty secrets, to women darning hand-me-downs, to reluctant hands carrying bodies across borders, Mora traverses the tangled threads of culture, community, family, gender, and injustice. Her vivid observations together with her deft handling of symmetry and meter make her poetry uniquely insightful, subtle, and elegant. Sprinkled with Spanish and plenty of spice, each ode is a sensory flurry of mind and body. Together they make a cauldron of flavorful, simmering language. They are meant to be savored as they slowly stir the soul.
Adolescence is in many ways a culturally constructed category, with different meanings for different societies. Susan Schaefer Davis and Douglas A. Davis have studied adolescence in Zawiya, a town in northern Morocco. They examine changes in views of adolescence, changes in adolescent behavior, and differences in the adolescent experiences of boys and girls over the past few decades.
Rashid was eighteen in 1982, when he helped us understand the feelings and activities of young people in his neighborhood, no longer a boy but not quite a man. He liked to talk about how his feelings and his understanding had grown from the time described, when he was just a kid. He recalled his dreams and plans in one of the hundreds of conversations we had about adolescence in this Moroccan town. His generation of youth in "Zawiya," on the western edge of North Africa, are the subject of this book.
Since the end of the Korean War, an estimated 200,000 children from South Korea have been adopted into white families in North America, Europe, and Australia. While these transnational adoptions were initiated as an emergency measure to find homes for mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the war, the practice grew exponentially from the 1960s through the 1980s. At the height of South Korea’s “economic miracle,” adoption became an institutionalized way of dealing with poor and illegitimate children. Most of the adoptees were raised with little exposure to Koreans or other Korean adoptees, but as adults, through global flows of communication, media, and travel, they have come into increasing contact with each other, Korean culture, and the South Korean state. Since the 1990s, as Korean children have continued to leave to be adopted in the West, a growing number of adult adoptees have been returning to Korea to seek their cultural and biological origins. In this fascinating ethnography, Eleana J. Kim examines the history of Korean adoption, the emergence of a distinctive adoptee collective identity, and adoptee returns to Korea in relation to South Korean modernity and globalization. Kim draws on interviews with adult adoptees, social workers, NGO volunteers, adoptee activists, scholars, and journalists in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea, as well as on observations at international adoptee conferences, regional organization meetings, and government-sponsored motherland tours.
"Includes research on adoption documents rarely open to historians . . . an important addition to the literature on adoption."
"Sheds new light on the roots of this complex and fascinating institution."
"Well-written and accessible . . . showcases the wide-ranging scholarship underway on the history of adoption."
"[T]his volume is a significant contribution to the literature and can serve as a catalyst for further research."
---Social Service Review
Adoption affects an estimated 60 percent of Americans, but despite its pervasiveness, this social institution has been little examined and poorly understood. Adoption in America gathers essays on the history of adoptions and orphanages in the United States. Offering provocative interpretations of a variety of issues, including antebellum adoption and orphanages; changing conceptions of adoption in late-nineteenth-century novels; Progressive Era reform and adoptive mothers; the politics of "matching" adoptive parents with children; the radical effect of World War II on adoption practices; religion and the reform of adoption; and the construction of birth mother and adoptee identities, the essays in Adoption in America will be debated for many years to come.
In 1972 the artist Adrian Piper began periodically dressing as a persona called the Mythic Being, striding the streets of New York in a mustache, Afro wig, and mirrored sunglasses with a cigar in the corner of her mouth. Her Mythic Being performances critically engaged with popular representations of race, gender, sexuality, and class; they challenged viewers to accept personal responsibility for xenophobia and discrimination and the conditions that allowed them to persist. Piper’s work confronts viewers and forces them to reconsider assumptions about the social construction of identity. Adrian Piper: Race, Gender, and Embodiment is an in-depth analysis of this pioneering artist’s work, illustrated with more than ninety images, including twenty-one in color.
Over the course of a decade, John P. Bowles and Piper conversed about her art and its meaning, reception, and relation to her scholarship on Kant’s philosophy. Drawing on those conversations, Bowles locates Piper’s work at the nexus of Conceptual and feminist art of the late 1960s and 1970s. Piper was the only African American woman associated with the Conceptual artists of the 1960s and one of only a few African Americans to participate in exhibitions of the nascent feminist art movement in the early 1970s. Bowles contends that Piper’s work is ultimately about our responsibility for the world in which we live.
Adrienne Kennedy Reader
Adrienne Kennedy University of Minnesota Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3561.E4252A6 2001 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
An essential collection of works by one of our greatest living playwrights.
Adrienne Kennedy has been a force in American theatre since the early 1960s, influencing generations of playwrights with her hauntingly fragmentary lyrical dramas. Exploring the violence racism visits upon people's lives, Kennedy's plays express poetic alienation, transcending the particulars of character and plot through ritualistic repetition and radical structural experimentation. Frequently produced, read, and taught, they continue to hold a significant place among the most exciting dramas of the past fifty years.
This first comprehensive collection of her most important works traces the development of Kennedy's unique theatrical oeuvre from her Obie-winning Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) through significant later works such as A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976), Ohio State Murders (1992), and June and Jean in Concert, for which she won an Obie in 1996. The entire contents of Kennedy's groundbreaking collections In One Act and The Alexander Plays are included, as is her earliest work "Because of the King of France" and the play An Evening with Dead Essex (1972). More recent prose works "Secret Paragraphs about My Brother," "A Letter to Flowers," and "Sisters Etta and Ella" are fascinating refractions of the themes and motifs of her dramatic works, even while they explore new material on teaching and writing. An introduction by Werner Sollors provides a valuable overview of Kennedy's career and the trajectory of her literary development.
"Kennedy's plays are strong dreams that reveal us in our most vulnerable moments." Robert Brustein, director of the American Repertory Theater
"There are times when we see plays that are so extraordinary-out of this world- we are literally shaken out of our everyday selves. There are greater things in heaven and hell, we realize, and this feeling of 'bigger things' does not easily leave us. The achievement of Adrienne Kennedy's plays is that they hurl us into another place, like a dark stream of consciousness in the blackest of worlds." New York Observer
"Adrienne Kennedy's plays are like towering rock formations, frightening and beautiful." Alisa Solomon, Village Voice
"For four decades Kennedy has been writing the most intensely personal plays of any playwright in the USA, yet to call them autobiographical is misleading. They are about her and not about her, and this paradox gives her work a power, an intimacy, and a truthfulness that few others achieve. . . . Kennedy's works are dream plays, lyrical explorations of a troubled consciousness, female and black, often divided against itself and at odds with the world around it." Boston Phoenix
"Adrienne Kennedy is one of the black female doyennes of theater, where she has become a role model for a younger generation." New York Times
"With Beckett gone, Adrienne Kennedy is probably the boldest artist now writing for the theater." Michael Feingold, Village Voice
"[Kennedy writes] out-of-kilter, lyrical, and drop-dead brilliant work for the American theater." Lisa Jones, Village Voice
Adrienne Kennedy (b. 1931) is a three-time Obie-award winning playwright whose works have been widely anthologized and performed around the world. Among her many honors are the Guggenheim fellowship and the American Academy of Arts and Letters award.
Innovator Award for Edited Collection from the Central States Communication Association (CSCA)
Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful players in contemporary American network television. Beginning with her break-out hit series Grey’s Anatomy, she has successfully debuted Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, The Catch, For The People, and Station 19. Rhimes’s work is attentive to identity politics, “post-” identity politics, power, and representation, addressing innumerable societal issues. Rhimes intentionally addresses these issues with diverse characters and story lines that center, for example, on interracial friendships and relationships, LGBTIQ relationships and parenting, the impact of disability on familial and work dynamics, and complex representations of womanhood. This volume serves as a means to theorize Rhimes’s contributions and influence by inspiring provocative conversations about television as a deeply politicized institution and exploring how Rhimes fits into the implications of twenty-first century television.
In Advertising Diversity Shalini Shankar explores how racial and ethnic differences are created and commodified through advertisements, marketing, and public relations. Drawing from periods of fieldwork she conducted over four years at Asian American ad agencies in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Shankar illustrates the day-to-day process of creating and producing broadcast and internet advertisements. She examines the adaptation of general market brand identities for Asian American audiences, the ways ad executives make Asian cultural and linguistic concepts accessible to their clients, and the differences between casting Asian Americans in ads for general and multicultural markets. Shankar argues that as a form of racialized communication, advertising shapes the political and social status of Asian Americans, transforming them from "model minorities" to "model consumers." Asian Americans became visible in the twenty-first century United States through a process Shankar calls "racial naturalization." Once seen as foreign, their framing as model consumers has legitimized their presence in the American popular culture landscape. By making the category of Asian American suitable for consumption, ad agencies shape and refine the population they aim to represent.
One hundred twenty-two sonnets that touch on contemporary American popular culture, social trends, and personalities. Poet Roger Armbrust is described by some as a mystic, by others as a spiritualist, and by yet others as a guy who toys with really big thoughts, making them objects both of serious study and of humor. His sonnets will push you to laughter and meditation: a satisfying literary ride.
In The Aesthetic Astronaut, Roger Armbrust escorts readers on an insightful journey throughout Earth and beyond. We experience the loneliness and instpiration of "the Aesthetic Astronaut"; cold-blooded calculations of "The Armchair Assassin"; passion and sense of the romantic lover; reflective memories of a gentle heart growing older; ironic vision of an observer to history, and subtle--and sometimes not so subtle--humor of a fellow human involved in our day-to-day challenge of living a worthwhile life. The poet's imagery and attitude. . . may fascinate, thrill, sadden, anger, or push you to laughter or meditation. But you'll find the trip a fascinating literary ride.
Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today.
Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture.
Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies.
Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.
Heavy makeup, gaudy jewelry, dramatic hairstyles, and clothes that are considered cheap, fake, too short, too tight, or too masculine: working-class Black and Latina girls and women are often framed as embodying "excessive" styles that are presumed to indicate sexual deviance. In Aesthetics of Excess Jillian Hernandez examines how middle-class discourses of aesthetic value racialize the bodies of women and girls of color. At the same time, their style can be a source of cultural capital when appropriated by the contemporary art scene. Drawing on her community arts work with Black and Latina girls in Miami, Hernandez analyzes the art and self-image of these girls alongside works produced by contemporary artists and pop musicians such as Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker, and Nicki Minaj. Through these relational readings, Hernandez shows how notions of high and low culture are complicated when women and girls of color engage in cultural production and how they challenge the policing of their bodies and sexualities through artistic authorship.
In her groundbreaking Affective Intellectuals and the Space of Catastrophe in the Americas, Judith Sierra-Rivera studies five different contexts of crisis: natural disasters in Mexico, forced displacements between Central America and the United States, a whitewashed transition to democracy in Chile, colonialism and wars in Puerto Rico, and racism and patriarchy in Cuba. All of these scenarios share the common ground of the neoliberal space of catastrophe, which also generates new groups and forms of resistance. Affective Intellectuals argues that a new kind of intellectual emerges from these contemporary configurations to speak and act guided by the stories and desires of those who have been systematically pushed out of the public sphere: indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, immigrants, LGBTQ sexualities, and inhabitants of poverty.
Pursuing this argument, Sierra-Rivera examines print, radio, and web materials by authors whose emotional discourses have also had a measurable impact on the formation of communities that demand their full political inclusion in society. This book therefore fills a significant gap in the study of the relationship between materiality (space and bodies), emotions, and the political imagination. Affective Intellectuals demonstrates that writers and intellectuals themselves are vital in reshaping their communities and fighting for social justice in the Hemispheric Americas.
Affirmative action programs have significantly changed American medicine for the better, not only in medical school admissions and access to postgraduate training but also in bringing a higher quality of health care to all people. James L. Curtis approaches this important transition from historical, statistical, and personal perspectives. He tells how over the course of his medical education and career as a psychiatrist and professor--often as the first or only African American in his cohort--the status of minorities in the medical professions grew from a tiny percentage to a far more equitable representation of the American population.
Advancing arguments from his earlier book, Blacks, Medical Schools, and Society, Curtis evaluates the outcomes of affirmative action efforts over the past thirty years. He describes formidable barriers to minority access to medical-education opportunities and the resulting problems faced by minority patients in receiving medical treatment. His progress report includes a review of two thousand minority students admitted to U.S. medical schools in 1969, following them through graduation and their careers, comparing them with the careers of two thousand of their nonminority peers. These samples provide an important look at medical schools that, while heralding dramatic progress in physician education and training opportunity, indicates much room for further improvement.
A basic hurdle continues to face African Americans and other minorities who are still confined to segregated neighborhoods and inferior school systems that stifle full scholastic development. Curtis urges us as a nation to develop all our human resources through an expansion of affirmative action programs, thus improving health care for everyone.
James L. Curtis is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
A milestone book of poetry at the intersection of Appalachian and African American literature.
In this pathbreaking debut collection, poet Frank X Walker tells the story of growing up young, Black, artistic, and male in one of America’s most misunderstood geographical regions. As a proud Kentucky native, Walker created the word “Affrilachia” to render visible the unique intersectional experience of African Americans living in the rural and Appalachian South.
Since its publication in 2000, Affrilachia has seen wide classroom use, and is recognized as one of the foundational works of the Affrilachian Poets, a community of writers offering new ways to think about diversity in the Appalachian region and beyond.
Folktales from the African American Appalachian tradition. Told by Lyn Ford, one of America’s busiest touring storytellers. The power of Lyn's storytelling comes straight out of her family heritage, which is the content of this, her first book. Here she tells how she learned stories from her father and grandfather—and she includes many of the stories they told her.
Extensive archival and anecdotal sources support Michael Mullin's description of slavery as it was practiced in tidewater Virginia, on the rice coast of the Carolinas, and in Jamaica and Barbados. Drawing upon case histories, Mullin offers new and definitive information about how African's met and often overcame the challenges and deprivations of their new lives through religion, family life, and economic strategies.
"Africa in America is more than another account of slave resistance and accommodation. It is a brilliant and provocative work of historical anthropology and a synthetic account of slavery that firmly places the subject in a comparative and long-term context. . . . Mullin's three-part chronology of resistance and rebellion is attractive in its simplicity and flexibility." -- James D. Rice, Southern Historian
Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S. The essays in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity engage readers in critical conversations by activists, scholars, and artists reflecting on national and transnational legacies of African American activism as an element of artistic practice, particularly as they concern artistic expression and race relations, and the intersections of creative processes with economic, sociological, and psychological inequalities. Scholars from the fields of communication, theater, queer studies, media studies, performance studies, dance, visual arts, and fashion design, to name a few, collectively ask: What are the connections between African American arts, the work of social justice, and creative processes? If we conceive the arts as critical to the legacy of Black activism in the United States, how can we use that construct to inform our understanding of the complicated intersections of African American activism and aesthetics? How might we as scholars and creative thinkers further employ the arts to envision and shape a verdant society?
Contributors: Carrie Mae Weems, Carmen Gillespie, Rikki Byrd, Amber Lauren Johnson, Doria E. Charlson, Florencia V. Cornet, Daniel McNeil, Lucy Caplan, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Sammantha McCalla, Nettrice R. Gaskins, Abby Dobson, J. Michael Kinsey, Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Julie B. Johnson, Sharrell D. Luckett, Jasmine Eileen Coles, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Rickerby Hinds.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Ranging from seventeenth-century West African fare to contemporary fusion dishes using soul food ingredients, the essays in this book provide an introduction to many aspects of African American foodways and an antidote to popular misconceptions about soul food. Examining the combination of African, Caribbean, and South American traditions, the volume's contributors offer lively insights from history, literature, sociology, anthropology, and African American studies to demonstrate how food's material and symbolic values have contributed to African Americans' identity for centuries. Individual chapters examine how African foodways survived the passage into slavery, cultural meanings associated with African American foodways, and the contents of African American cookbooks, both early and recent.
Contributors are Anne L. Bower, Robert L. Hall, William C. Whit, Psyche Williams-Forson, Doris Witt, Anne Yentsch, Rafia Zafar.
The role of African American fraternal organizations in black civic engagement has been largely overlooked by scholars of African American history. While scholars have traditionally emphasized the role of the black church, social clubs, and civil rights organizations, this special issue of Social Science History explores the significance of fraternal organizations of men and women in the African American community from Reconstruction to the mid-twentieth century. It illustrates how these organizations helped foster solidarity, build identity, and encourage collective action.
The contributors construct a historical portrait of black fraternal orders during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They argue that African Americans were more likely than whites to form fraternal orders and to sustain them, using them to guard members against unemployment and other misfortunes. They examine the ritual life of fraternal organizations, paying particular attention to rites of initiation and to the values they reflected about collective identity, gender relations, equality, and collective action. Finally, they show how social networks that black fraternal organizations fostered led to successful legal battles for the right to assemble and to the later civil rights movement of the twentieth century.
Contributors. Bayliss J. Camp, Marshall Ganz, Orit Kent, Ariane Liazos, Jennifer Lynn Oser, Theda Skocpol, Joe W. Trotter
This groundbreaking volume establishes new perspectives on black history--its scholarship and pedagogy, scholars and interpreters, and evolution as a profession.
Pero Gaglo Dagbovie discusses a wide range of issues and themes for understanding and analyzing African American history, the twentieth century black historical enterprise, and the teaching of African American history for the twenty-first century. Additional topics include the hip-hop generation's relationship to and interpretations of African American history; past, present, and future approaches to the subject; and the social construct of knowledge in African American historiography. An examination of definitions of black history from W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk and a survey of early black women historians lend further dimension and authenticity to the volume. A bold contribution to the growing fields of African American historiography and the philosophy of black history, African American History Reconsidered offers numerous analytical frameworks for understanding and delving into a variety of dimensions of the African American historical experience.
Begun by Puritans, the American jeremiad, a rhetoric that expresses indignation and urges social change, has produced passionate and persuasive essays and speeches throughout the nation's history. Showing that black leaders have employed this verbal tradition of protest and social prophecy in a way that is specifically African American, David Howard-Pitney examines the jeremiads of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, as well as more contemporary figures such as Jesse Jackson and Alan Keyes. This revised and expanded edition demonstrates that the African American jeremiad is still vibrant, serving as a barometer of faith in America's perfectibility and hope for social justice.This new edition features: * A new chapter on Malcolm X * An updated discussion of Jesse Jackson * A new discussion of Alan Keyes
During the first half of the twentieth century, degradation, poverty, and hopelessness were commonplace for African Americans who lived in the South’s countryside, either on farms or in rural communities. Many southern blacks sought relief from these conditions by migrating to urban centers. Many others, however, continued to live in rural areas. Scholars of African American rural history in the South have been concerned primarily with the experience of blacks as sharecroppers, tenant farmers, textile workers, and miners. Less attention has been given to other aspects of the rural African American experience during the early twentieth century.
African American Life in the Rural South, 1900–1950 provides important new information about African American culture, social life, and religion, as well as economics, federal policy, migration, and civil rights. The essays particularly emphasize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate the white world in the southern countryside.
Filling a void in southern studies, this outstanding collection provides a substantive overview of the subject. Scholars, students, and teachers of African American, southern, agricultural, and rural history will find this work invaluable.
We call habeas corpus the Great Writ of Liberty. But it was actually a writ of power. In a work based on an unprecedented study of thousands of cases across more than five hundred years, Paul Halliday provides a sweeping revisionist account of the world's most revered legal device.
In the decades around 1600, English judges used ideas about royal power to empower themselves to protect the king's subjects. The key was not the prisoner's ""right"" to ""liberty""—these are modern idioms—but the possible wrongs committed by a jailer or anyone who ordered a prisoner detained. This focus on wrongs gave the writ the force necessary to protect ideas about rights as they developed outside of law. This judicial power carried the writ across the world, from Quebec to Bengal. Paradoxically, the representative impulse, most often expressed through legislative action, did more to undermine the writ than anything else. And the need to control imperial subjects would increasingly constrain judges. The imperial experience is thus crucial for making sense of the broader sweep of the writ's history and of English law.
Halliday's work informed the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Boumediene v. Bush on prisoners in the Guantánamo detention camps. His eagerly anticipated book is certain to be acclaimed the definitive history of habeas corpus.
In March of 1827 the nation's first black newspaper appeared in New York City—to counter attacks on blacks by the city's other papers. From this signal event, The African American Newspaper traces the evolution of the black newspaper—and its ultimate decline--for more than 160 years until the end of the twentieth century.
The book chronicles the growth of the black press into a powerful and effective national voice for African Americans during the period from 1910 to 1950--a period that proved critical to the formation and gathering strength of the civil rights movement that emerged so forcefully in the following decades. In particular, author Patrick S. Washburn explores how the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender led the way as the two most influential black newspapers in U.S. history, effectively setting the stage for the civil rights movement's successes. Washburn also examines the numerous reasons for the enormous decline of black newspapers in influence and circulation in the decades immediately following World War II. His book documents as never before how the press's singular accomplishments provide a unique record of all areas of black history and a significant and shaping affect on the black experience in America.
While stories of organized crime most often dwell on groups like the Mafia and Chinese Triad or Tongs, African Americans also have a long history of organized crime. Why have scholars and journalists paid so little attention to African American organized crime? What can a history of these criminal networks teach us about the social, political, and economic challenges that face African Americans today? What is specific to African American organized crime, and how do these networks differ from the criminal organizations of other racial and ethnic groups? How can a historical study of African American organized crime enrich our understanding of all criminal activity?
Rufus Schatzberg and Robert Kelly take us through almost a century of African American organized crime. Chapters focus on the numbers gambling that took place in New York City from 1920 to 1940, the criminal groups that operated in ghettos from the 1940s to the 1970s, and the gang activities that began in the 1970s and continues today. While providing a compelling analysis of African American organized crime, the authors also challenge existing stereotypes of African Americans and demonstrate the importance of studying any criminal activity within its historical and social context.
Race matters in both national and international politics. Starting from this perspective, African American Perspectives on Political Science presents original essays from leading African American political scientists. Collectively, they evaluate the discipline, its subfields, the quality of race-related research, and omissions in the literature. They argue that because Americans do not fully understand the many-faceted issues of race in politics in their own country, they find it difficult to comprehend ethnic and racial disputes in other countries as well. In addition, partly because there are so few African Americans in the field, political science faces a danger of unconscious insularity in methodology and outlook. Contributors argue that the discipline needs multiple perspectives to prevent it from developing blind spots. Taken as a whole, these essays argue with great urgency that African American political scientists have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to rethink the canon, the norms, and the directions of the discipline.
African American Political Thought offers an unprecedented philosophical history of thinkers from the African American community and African diaspora who have addressed the central issues of political life: democracy, race, violence, liberation, solidarity, and mass political action. Melvin L. Rogers and Jack Turner have brought together leading scholars to reflect on individual intellectuals from the past four centuries, developing their list with an expansive approach to political expression. The collected essays consider such figures as Martin Delany, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Audre Lorde, whose works are addressed by scholars such as Farah Jasmin Griffin, Robert Gooding-Williams, Michael Dawson, Nick Bromell, Neil Roberts, and Lawrie Balfour.
While African American political thought is inextricable from the historical movement of American political thought, this volume stresses the individuality of Black thinkers, the transnational and diasporic consciousness, and how individual speakers and writers draw on various traditions simultaneously to broaden our conception of African American political ideas. This landmark volume gives us the opportunity to tap into the myriad and nuanced political theories central to Black life. In doing so, African American Political Thought: A Collected History transforms how we understand the past and future of political thinking in the West.
This widely-heralded collection of remarkable documents offers a view of African American religious history from Africa and early America through Reconstruction to the rise of black nationalism, civil rights, and black theology of today. The documents—many of them rare, out-of-print, or difficult to find—include personal narratives, sermons, letters, protest pamphlets, early denominational histories, journalistic accounts, and theological statements. In this volume Olaudah Equiano describes Ibo religion. Lemuel Haynes gives a black Puritan’s farewell. Nat Turner confesses. Jarena Lee becomes a female preacher among the African Methodists. Frederick Douglass discusses Christianity and slavery. Isaac Lane preaches among the freedmen. Nannie Helen Burroughs reports on the work of Baptist women. African Methodist bishops deliberate on the Great Migration. Bishop C. H. Mason tells of the Pentecostal experience. Mahalia Jackson recalls the glory of singing at the 1963 March on Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes from the Birmingham jail. Originally published in 1985, this expanded second edition includes new sources on women, African missions, and the Great Migration. Milton C. Sernett provides a general introduction as well as historical context and comment for each document.
Satire's real purpose as a literary genre is to criticize through humor, irony, caricature, and parody, and ultimately to defy the status quo. In African American Satire, Darryl Dickson-Carr provides the first book-length study of African American satire and the vital role it has played. In the process he investigates African American literature, American literature, and the history of satire.
Dickson-Carr argues that major works by such authors as Rudolph Fisher, Ishmael Reed, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and George S. Schuyler should be read primarily as satires in order to avoid misinterpretation and to gain a greater understanding of their specific meanings and the eras in which they were written. He also examines the satirical rhetoric and ideological bases of complex works such as John Oliver Killens's The Cotillion and Cecil Brown's The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger—books that are currently out of print and that have received only scant critical attention since they were first published.
Beginning with the tradition of folk humor that originated in West Africa and was forcibly transplanted to the Americas through chattel slavery, Dickson-Carr focuses in each chapter on a particular period of the twentieth century in which the African American satirical novel flourished. He analyzes the historical contexts surrounding African American literature and culture within discrete crucial movements, starting with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ending in the present. He also demonstrates how the political, cultural, and literary ethos of each particular moment is manifested and contested in each text.
By examining these texts closely within their historical and ideological contexts, Dickson-Carr shows how African American satirical novels provide the reader of African American literature with a critique of popular ideologies seldom found in nonsatirical works. Providing a better understanding of what satire is and why it is so important for fulfilling many of the goals of African American literature, African American Satire will be an important addition to African American studies.
Historians have devoted surprisingly little attention to African American urban history ofthe postwar period, especially compared with earlier decades. Correcting this imbalance, African American Urban History since World War II features an exciting mix of seasoned scholars and fresh new voices whose combined efforts provide the first comprehensive assessment of this important subject.
The first of this volume’s five groundbreaking sections focuses on black migration and Latino immigration, examining tensions and alliances that emerged between African Americans and other groups. Exploring the challenges of residential segregation and deindustrialization, later sections tackle such topics as the real estate industry’s discriminatory practices, the movement of middle-class blacks to the suburbs, and the influence of black urban activists on national employment and social welfare policies. Another group of contributors examines these themes through the lens of gender, chronicling deindustrialization’s disproportionate impact on women and women’s leading roles in movements for social change. Concluding with a set of essays on black culture and consumption, this volume fully realizes its goal of linking local transformations with the national and global processes that affect urban class and race relations.
Written by leading scholars of African American and women's history, the essays in this volume seek to reconceptualize the political history of black women in the United States by placing them "at the center of our thinking." The book explores how slavery, racial discrimination, and gender shaped the goals that African American women set for themselves, their families, and their race and looks at the political tools at their disposal. By identifying key turning points for black women, the essays create a new chronology and a new paradigm for historical analysis. The chronology begins in 1837 with the interracial meeting of antislavery women in New York City and concludes with the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The contributors focus on specific examples of women pursuing a dual ambition: to gain full civil and political rights and to improve the social conditions of African Americans. Together, the essays challenge us to rethink common generalizations that govern much of our historical thinking about the experience of African American women.
Contributors include Bettina Aptheker, Elsa Barkley Brown, Willi Coleman, Gerald R. Gill, Ann D. Gordon, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Cynthia Neverdon-Morton, Martha Prescod Norman, Janice Sumler-Edmond, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, and Bettye Collier-Thomas.
Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected in 1968. That was nearly a hundred years after the election of the first African American man to Congress and fifty years after the first woman. A quarter of a century after Chisholm's election, the first Black woman, Carol Moseley-Braun, was elected to the United States Senate. It was not until 1993, when ten additional Black women won seats in the 103rd Congress, that African American women were allowed to serve their country and their constituencies in any substantial numbers. In 1997 that historic moment will very likely be lost as congressional districts are redrawn by court order. This remarkable book by LaVerne Gill preserves the history of the struggles and accomplishments of these fifteen courageous women, and will move others to learn from and follow their example.
African American Women in Congress details the life and career histories of Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Yvonne Burke, Cardiss Collins, Katie Hall, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maxine Waters, Barbara-Rose Collins, Carol Moseley-Braun, Corinne Brown, Carrie Meek, Cynthia McKinney, Eva Clayton, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee. Each profile contains a picture of its subject, interview material, and resumés. Arranged chronologically, the book introduces the reader to issues of vital importance to the Black community—Reconstruction, enfranchisement, lynchings and harassment, civil rights struggles, the founding of advocacy groups, the power of the Congressional Black Caucus, the creation of majority minority districts that allowed greater representation in Congress, the struggle of largely Black Washington, D.C., for representation, and the recent dismantling of past gains by a Republican majority. Gill also describes the uphill battles for social justice and the rights of women that the fifteen women had to wage even within their own political parties, political organizations, and districts.
For general readers, high school and college students, and anyone interested in the political process, this book is illuminating and inspiring reading.
Selected as a "New Jersey Notable Book for 1995-2005" by the New Jersey Center for the Book
Awarded the 2004 Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History
African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000 is the first and only reference book to identify and document the lives, intellectual contributions, and publications of over one hundred African American women writers in the Garden State from 1836 through 2000. Many, such as Jessie Redmon Fauset, Alice Perry Johnson, Sharon Bell Mathis, Ntozake Shange, Claudia C. Tate, Ruby Ora Williams, and Marion Thompson Wright, were born in the state. Others, like Amina Baraka, E. Alma Flagg, Helen Jackson Lee, Gertrude Williams Pitts, and Dorothy Porter Wesley, although not born there, were residents of New Jersey for more than fifteen years, and made significant contributions during that time.
This volume contains biographical and bibliographical information for each author. There are photographs of the writers as well as citations for their published pamphlets, books, reports, and articles. Sibyl E. Moses has enhanced the text with characteristic excerpts from the poetry and prose of selected writers. The two appendixes highlight the distribution of African American women writers in New Jersey both by city or town, and by genre.
Constraints on freedom, education, and individual dignity have always been fundamental in determining who is able to write, when, and where. Considering the singular experience of the African American writer, William W. Cook and James Tatum here argue that African American literature did not develop apart from canonical Western literary traditions but instead grew out of those literatures, even as it adapted and transformed the cultural traditions and religions of Africa and the African diaspora along the way.
Tracing the interaction between African American writers and the literatures of ancient Greece and Rome, from the time of slavery and its aftermath to the civil rights era and on into the present, the authors offer a sustained and lively discussion of the life and work of Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and Rita Dove, among other highly acclaimed poets, novelists, and scholars. Assembling this brilliant and diverse group of African American writers at a moment when our understanding of classical literature is ripe for change, the authors paint an unforgettable portrait of our own reception of “classic” writing, especially as it was inflected by American racial politics.
Werner Sollors’ African American Writing takes a fresh look at what used to be called “Negro literature.” The essays collected here, ranging in topic from Gustavus Vassa/Olaudah Equiano to LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, and in time from the Enlightenment to the Obama presidency, take a literary approach to black writing and present writers as readers and as intellectuals who were or are open to the world.
From W.E.B. Du Bois commenting on Richard Wagner and Elvis Presley, to Zora Neale Hurston attacking Brown v. Board of Ed. in a segregationist newspaper, to Charles Chesnutt’s effigy darkened for the black heritage postage stamp, Sollors alternates between close readings and broader cultural contextualizations to delineate the various aesthetic modes and intellectual exchanges that shaped a series of striking literary works.
Readers will make often-surprising discoveries in the authors’ writing and in their encounters and dialogues with others. The essays, accompanied by Winold Reiss’s pastels, Carl Van Vechten’s photographs, and other portraits, attempt to honor this important literature’s achievement, heterogeneity, and creativity.
In 1993 distinguished historian Nancy L. Grant organized "Blacks and Jews: An American Historical Perspective," a conference held at Washington University in St. Louis and dedicated to the exploration of Black-Jewish relations in twentieth-century America. Featuring presentations by historians, sociologists, and political scientists, this conference reflected Grant's devotion to scholarship on multicultural relations and the continuing struggle for racial equality in the United States. After Grant's untimely death in 1995, V. P. Franklin and the other contributors completed the work of readying these essays for publication with the assistance of the coeditors. African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century is the culmination of the innovative research and ideas presented at the conference.
In the long struggle to bring social justice to American society, Blacks and Jews have often been close allies. In both the past and the present, however, there has also been serious conflict and competition between the groups in social, economic, and political spheres.
Focusing on the complexity of the relationships between Blacks and Jews in America, these essays examine the convergence and conflict that have characterized Black-Jewish interactions over the past century. African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century provides an intellectual foundation for continued dialogue and future cooperative efforts to improve social justice in this society and will be an invaluable resource for the study of race relations in the United States in the twentieth century.
African Americans in the Furniture City is unique not only in terms of its subject, but also for its framing of the African American struggle for survival, civil rights, and community inside a discussion of the larger white community. Examining the African-American community of Grand Rapids, Michigan between 1850 and 1954, Randal Maurice Jelks uncovers the ways in which its members faced urbanization, responded to structural racism, developed in terms of occupations, and shaped their communal identities.
Focusing on the intersection of African Americans’ nineteenth-century cultural values and the changing social and political conditions in the first half of the twentieth century, Jelks pays particularly close attention to the religious community’s influence during their struggle toward a respectable social identity and fair treatment under the law. He explores how these competing values defined the community’s politics as it struggled to expand its freedoms and change its status as a subjugated racial minority.
Bookended by remarks from African American diplomats Walter C. Carrington and Charles Stith, the essays in this volume use close readings of speeches, letters, historical archives, diaries, and memoirs of policymakers and newly available FBI files to confront much-neglected questions related to race and foreign relations in the United States. Why, for instance, did African Americans profess loyalty and support for the diplomatic initiatives of a nation that undermined their social, political, and economic well-being through racist policies and cultural practices? Other contributions explore African Americans' history in the diplomatic and consular services and the influential roles of cultural ambassadors like Joe Louis and Louis Armstrong. The volume concludes with an analysis of the effects on race and foreign policy in the administration of Barack Obama.
Groundbreaking and critical, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy expands on the scope and themes of recent collections to offer the most up-to-date scholarship to students in a range of disciplines, including U.S. and African American history, Africana studies, political science, and American studies.
During the early national and antebellum eras, black leaders in New York City confronted the tenuous nature of Northern emancipation. Despite the hope of freedom, black New Yorkers faced a series of sociopolitical issues including the persistence of Southern slavery, the threat of forced removal, racial violence, and the denial of American citizenship. Even efforts to create community space within the urban landscape, such as the African Burial Ground and Seneca Village, were eventually demolished to make way for the city's rapid development. In this illuminating history, Leslie M. Alexander chronicles the growth and development of black activism in New York from the formation of the first black organization, the African Society, in 1784 to the eve of the Civil War in 1861. In this critical period, black activists sought to formulate an effective response to their unequal freedom. Examining black newspapers, speeches, and organizational records, this study documents the creation of mutual relief, religious, and political associations, which black men and women infused with African cultural traditions and values.
As Alexander reveals, conflicts over early black political strategy foreshadowed critical ideological struggles that would bedevil the black leadership for generations to come. Initially, black leaders advocated racial uplift through a sense of communalism and connection to their African heritage. Yet by the antebellum era, black activists struggled to reconcile their African identity with a growing desire to gain American citizenship. Ultimately, this battle resulted in competing agendas; while some leaders argued that the black community should dedicate themselves to moral improvement and American citizenship, others began to consider emigrating to Africa or Haiti. In the end, the black leadership resolved to assert an American identity and to expand their mission for full equality and citizenship in the United States. This decision marked a crucial turning point in black political strategy, for it signaled a new phase in the quest for racial advancement and fostered the creation of a nascent Black Nationalism.
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
This special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly brings together scholars from a range of disciplines—including philosophy, anthropology, and literature—who are committed to thinking about the condition of contemporary black life. Moving among Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean, this issue demonstrates the vibrancy and historical roots of Africana thought and philosophy.
One essay reveals the intricate richness of Africana thought, moving through psychoanalysis, folktales, Western metaphysics, and a critique of the political. Another essay offers a cautionary tale about the prospects for black life in the United States, even in the wake of Barack Obama’s historic political victory. A third essay argues that a “dead zone”—a place where black lives are lost, where hopes are dashed, where history has failed the black subject—exists between the black elite and the disenfranchised black underclass. Still another essay addresses how the discourse about the political has triumphed over everything else in considerations of colonialism and its aftermath and proposes that a turn to culture might offer a new thinking of black futures.
Since its founding, Nashville has been a center of black urban culture in the Upper South. Blacks—slave and free—made up 20 percent of Fort Nashborough’s settlers in 1779. From these early years through the Civil War, a growing black community in Nashville, led by a small group of black elites, quietly built the foundations of a future society, developing schools, churches, and businesses. The Civil War brought new freedoms and challenges as the black population of Nashville increased and as black elites found themselves able—even obliged—to act more openly. To establish a more stable and prosperous African-American community, the elites found that they had to work within a system bound to the interests of whites. But the aims of this elite did not always coincide with those of the black community at large. By 1930, younger blacks, in particular, were moving towards protest and confrontation. As democratization and higher education spread, the lines distinguishing Nashville’s black elite became blurred.
Bobby L. Lovett presents a complex analysis of black experience in Nashville during the years between 1780 and 1930, exploring the impact of civil rights, education, politics, religion, business, and neighborhood development on a particular African-American community. This study of black Nashville examines lives lived within a web of shifting alliances and interests—the choices made, the difficulties overcome.
Fifteen years in the making, illustrated with maps and photographs, this work is the first detailed study of any of Tennessee’s major urban black communities. Lovett here collects, organizes, and interprets a large, rich body of data, making this material newly accessible to all interested in the black urban experience.
On November 7, 1967, the voters of Cleveland, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana, elected the nation's first African-American mayors to govern their cities. Ten years later more than two hundred black mayors held office, and by 1993 sixty-seven major urban centers, most with majority-white populations, were headed by African Americans.
Once in office, African-American mayors faced vexing challenges. In large and small cities from the Sunbelt to the Rustbelt, black mayors assumed office during economic downturns and confronted the intractable problems of decaying inner cities, white flight, a dwindling tax base, violent crime, and diminishing federal support for social programs. Many encountered hostility from their own parties, city councils, and police departments; others worked against long-established power structures dominated by local business owners or politicians. Still others, while trying to respond to multiple demands from a diverse constituency, were viewed as traitors by blacks expecting special attention from a leader of their own race. All struggled with the contradictory mandate of meeting the increasing needs of poor inner-city residents while keeping white businesses from fleeing to the suburbs.
This is the first comprehensive treatment of the complex phenomenon of African-American mayors in the nation's major urban centers. Offering a diverse portrait of leadership, conflict, and almost insurmountable obstacles, this volume assesses the political alliances that brought black mayors to office as well as their accomplishments--notably, increased minority hiring and funding for minority businesses--and the challenges that marked their careers. Mayors profiled include Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland), Richard G. Hatcher (Gary), "Dutch" Morial (New Orleans), Harold Washington (Chicago), Tom Bradley (Los Angeles), Marion Barry (Washington, D.C.), David Dinkins (New York City), Coleman Young (Detroit), and a succession of black mayors in Atlanta (Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, and Bill Campbell).
Probing the elusive economic dimension of black power, African-American Mayors demonstrates how the same circumstances that set the stage for the victories of black mayors exaggerated the obstacles they faced.
In this bestselling companion to her pioneering study, Invisible Poets, Joan Sherman continues to make new generations aware of the "invisible" legacy of nineteenth-century black American poetry. The 171 poems here, by thirty-five men and women, have been transcribed
from first editions and are annotated in detail.
Formed on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 at the height of the civil rights, Black power, and Black arts movements, the AFRICOBRA collective created a new artistic visual language rooted in the culture of Chicago's Black neighborhoods. The collective's aesthetics, especially the use of vibrant color, capture the rhythmic dynamism of Black culture and social life. In AFRICOBRA, painter, photographer, and collective cofounder Wadsworth A. Jarrell tells the definitive story of the group's creation, history, and artistic and political principles. From accounts of the painting of the groundbreaking Wall of Respect mural and conversations among group members to documentation of AFRICOBRA's exhibits in Chicago, New York, and Boston, Jarrell outlines how the collective challenged white conceptions of art by developing an artistic philosophy and approach wholly divested of Western practices. Featuring nearly one hundred color images of artworks, exhibition ephemera, and photographs, this book is at once a sourcebook history of AFRICOBRA and the story of visionary artists who rejected the white art establishment in order to create uplifting art for all Black people.
In the first published book-length study of Indian fiction in South Africa, Pallavi Rastogi demonstrates that Indians desire South African citizenship in the fullest sense of the word, a longing for inclusion that is asserted through an “Afrindian” identity. Afrindian Fictions: Diaspora, Race, and National Desire in South Africa examines Afrindian identity and blurs the racial binary of black and white interaction in South African studies as well as unsettles the East-West paradigm of migration dominant in South Asian diaspora studies.
While offering incisive analyses of the work of the most important South African Indian writers today—Ahmed Essop, Farida Karodia, Achmat Dangor, Imraan Coovadia, and Praba Moodley among others—the author also places South African Indian fiction within broader literary traditions. Rastogi’s project of recovery shines a light on the rich but neglected literature by South African Indians. The book closes with interviews conducted with six key South African Indian writers. Here the authors not only reflect on their own writing but also comment on many of the issues raised in the book itself, particularly the role of Indians in South Africa today, and the status of South African Indian writing.
Afrindian Fictions is a valuable introduction to South African Indian literature as well as a major interrogation of some of the foundational notions of post-colonial literary studies.
With contributions from activists, artists, and scholars, Afro Asia is a groundbreaking collection of writing on the historical alliances, cultural connections, and shared political strategies linking African Americans and Asian Americans. Bringing together autobiography, poetry, scholarly criticism, and other genres, this volume represents an activist vanguard in the cultural struggle against oppression.
Afro Asia opens with analyses of historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. An account of nineteenth-century Chinese laborers who fought against slavery and colonialism in Cuba appears alongside an exploration of African Americans’ reactions to and experiences of the Korean “conflict.” Contributors examine the fertile period of Afro-Asian exchange that began around the time of the 1955 Bandung Conference, the first meeting of leaders from Asian and African nations in the postcolonial era. One assesses the relationship of two important 1960s Asian American activists to Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Mao Ze Dong’s 1963 and 1968 statements in support of black liberation are juxtaposed with an overview of the influence of Maoism on African American leftists.
Turning to the arts, Ishmael Reed provides a brief account of how he met and helped several Asian American writers. A Vietnamese American spoken-word artist describes the impact of black hip-hop culture on working-class urban Asian American youth. Fred Ho interviews Bill Cole, an African American jazz musician who plays Asian double-reed instruments. This pioneering collection closes with an array of creative writing, including poetry, memoir, and a dialogue about identity and friendship that two writers, one Japanese American and the other African American, have performed around the United States.
Contributors: Betsy Esch, Diane C. Fujino, royal hartigan, Kim Hewitt, Cheryl Higashida, Fred Ho, Everett Hoagland, Robin D. G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, David Mura, Ishle Park, Alexs Pate, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Ishmael Reed, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Maya Almachar Santos, JoYin C. Shih, Ron Wheeler, Daniel Widener, Lisa Yun
Bill V. Mullen University of Minnesota Press, 2004 Library of Congress E185.615.M75 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.896073
Reveals a century of political solidarity uniting Asians and African Americans
As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay “The World Problem of the Color Line,” W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge.
Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said’s Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism—including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho—and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to re-imagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent.
Featuring the work of the most distinguished scholars in the field, this volume assesses the state of Afro-American literary study and projects a vision of that study for the 1990s. "A rich and rewarding collection."—Choice.
"This diverse and inspired collection . . . testifies to the Afro-Am academy's extraordinary vitality."—Voice Literary Supplement
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.
Afrocentric Idea Revised
Molefi Asante Temple University Press, 1998 Library of Congress P94.5.A37A78 1998 | Dewey Decimal 909.0496
This new edition of The Afrocentric Idea boldly confronts the contemporary challenges that have been launched against Molefi Kete Asante's philosophical, social, and cultural theory. By rendering a critique of some post-modern positions as well as the old structured Eurocentric orientations discussed in the first edition, this new edition contains lively engagements with views expressed by Mary Lefkowitz, Paul Gilroy, and Cornel West. Expanding on his core ideas, Asante has cast The Afrocentric Idea in the tradition of provocative critiques of the established social order. This is a fresh and dynamic location of culture within the context of social change.
Growing out of the music scene, afrofuturism has emerged as an important aesthetic through films such as Black Panther and Get Out. While the significance of these sonic and visual avenues for afrofuturism cannot be underestimated, literature remains fundamental to understanding its full dimensions. Isiah Lavender’s Afrofuturism Rising explores afrofuturism as a narrative practice that enables users to articulate the interconnection between science, technology, and race across centuries.
By engaging with authors as diverse as Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Samuel R. Delany Jr., Pauline Hopkins, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright, Afrofuturism Rising extends existing scholarly conversations about who creates and what is created via science fiction. Through a trans-historical rereading of texts by these authors as science fiction, Lavender highlights the ways black experience in America has always been an experience of spatial and temporal dislocation akin to science fiction. Compelling and ambitious in scope, Afrofuturism Rising redefines both science fiction and literature as a whole.
Challenging mainstream technocultural assumptions of a raceless future, Afrofuturism explores culturally distinct approaches to technology. This special issue addresses the intersection between African diasporic culture and technology through literature, poetry, science fiction and speculative fiction, music, visual art, and the Internet and maintains that racial identity fundamentally influences technocultural practices. The collection includes a reflection on the ideologies of race created by cultural critics in their analyses of change wrought by the information age; an interview with Nalo Hopkinson, the award-winning novelist and author of speculative fiction novels Midnight Robber and Brown Girl in the Ring, who fuses futuristic thinking with Caribbean traditions; an essay on how contemporary R&B music presents African American reflections on the technologies of everyday life; and an article examining early interventions by the black community to carve out a distinct niche in cyberspace.
Contributors. Ron Eglash, Anna Everett, Tana Hargest, Nalo Hopkinson, Tracie Morris, Alondra Nelson, Kalí Tal, Fatimah Tuggar, Alexander G. Weheliye Alondra Nelson is a Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies Program at New York University and is the Ann Plato Fellow at Trinity College. She will begin teaching in the African American Studies and Sociology Departments at Yale University in the fall of 2002.
Contributors. Ron Eglash, Anna Everett, Tana Hargest, Nalo Hopkinson, Alondra Nelson, Tracie Morris, Kali Tal, Fatimah Tuggar, Alexander G. Weheliye
The Afro-Latin@ Reader focuses attention on a large, vibrant, yet oddly invisible community in the United States: people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. The presence of Afro-Latin@s in the United States (and throughout the Americas) belies the notion that Blacks and Latin@s are two distinct categories or cultures. Afro-Latin@s are uniquely situated to bridge the widening social divide between Latin@s and African Americans; at the same time, their experiences reveal pervasive racism among Latin@s and ethnocentrism among African Americans. Offering insight into Afro-Latin@ life and new ways to understand culture, ethnicity, nation, identity, and antiracist politics, The Afro-Latin@ Reader presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latin@s in the United States. It addresses history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including scholarly essays, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, short stories, and interviews.
While the selections cover centuries of Afro-Latin@ history, since the arrival of Spanish-speaking Africans in North America in the mid-sixteenth-century, most of them focus on the past fifty years. The central question of how Afro-Latin@s relate to and experience U.S. and Latin American racial ideologies is engaged throughout, in first-person accounts of growing up Afro-Latin@, a classic essay by a leader of the Young Lords, and analyses of U.S. census data on race and ethnicity, as well as in pieces on gender and sexuality, major-league baseball, and religion. The contributions that Afro-Latin@s have made to U.S. culture are highlighted in essays on the illustrious Afro-Puerto Rican bibliophile Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and music and dance genres from salsa to mambo, and from boogaloo to hip hop. Taken together, these and many more selections help to bring Afro-Latin@s in the United States into critical view.
Contributors: Afro–Puerto Rican Testimonies Project, Josefina Baéz, Ejima Baker, Luis Barrios, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Adrian Burgos Jr., Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Adrián Castro, Jesús Colón, Marta I. Cruz-Janzen, William A. Darity Jr., Milca Esdaille, Sandra María Esteves, María Teresa Fernández (Mariposa), Carlos Flores, Juan Flores, Jack D. Forbes, David F. Garcia, Ruth Glasser, Virginia Meecham Gould, Susan D. Greenbaum, Evelio Grillo, Pablo “Yoruba” Guzmán, Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Tanya K. Hernández, Victor Hernández Cruz, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Lisa Hoppenjans, Vielka Cecilia Hoy, Alan J. Hughes, María Rosario Jackson, James Jennings, Miriam Jiménez Román, Angela Jorge, David Lamb, Aida Lambert, Ana M. Lara, Evelyne Laurent-Perrault, Tato Laviera, John Logan, Antonio López, Felipe Luciano, Louis Pancho McFarland, Ryan Mann-Hamilton, Wayne Marshall, Marianela Medrano, Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Yvette Modestin, Ed Morales, Jairo Moreno, Marta Moreno Vega, Willie Perdomo, Graciela Pérez Gutiérrez, Sofia Quintero, Ted Richardson, Louis Reyes Rivera, Pedro R. Rivera , Raquel Z. Rivera, Yeidy Rivero, Mark Q. Sawyer, Piri Thomas, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Nilaja Sun, Sherezada “Chiqui” Vicioso, Peter H. Wood
The past as a building block of a more affirming and hopeful future
As early as the eighteenth century, white Americans and Europeans believed that people of African descent could not experience nostalgia. As a result, black lives have been predominately narrated through historical scenes of slavery and oppression. This phenomenon created a missing archive of romantic historical memories.
Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, Ahad-Legardy reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions. Afro-nostalgia emerges as an expression of black romantic recollection that creates and inspires good feelings even within our darkest moments.
Original and provocative, Afro-Nostalgia offers black historical pleasure as a remedy to contend with the disillusionment of the present and the traumas of the past.
Highway 18 between Mission and Okreek, South Dakota, is a stretch of no more than eighteen miles, but late at night or in a blizzard it seems endless. "It feels like being somewhere between South Dakota and 'there,'" says Simon Ortiz, "perhaps at the farthest reaches of the galaxy."
Acoma Pueblo poet Ortiz spent a winter in South Dakota, teaching at Sinte Gleska College on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Reservation. The bitter cold and driving snow of a prairie winter were a reality commanding his attention through its absolute challenge to survival and the meaning of survival.
Ortiz's way of dealing with the hard elements of winter was to write After and Before the Lightning, prose and verse poems that were his response to that long season between the thunderstorms of autumn and spring. "I needed a map of where I was and what I was doing in the cosmos," he writes. In these poems, which he regards as a book-length poetic work, he charts the vast spaces of prairie and time that often seem indistinguishable. As he faces the reality of winter on the South Dakota reservation, he also confronts the harsh political reality for its Native community and culture and for Indian people everywhere.
"Writing this poetry reconnected me to the wonder and awe of life," Ortiz states emphatically. Readers will feel the reality of that wonder and awe—and the cold of that South Dakota winter—through the gentle ferocity of his words.
Drawing primarily on the US #blacklivesmatter movement, contributors to this issue come to terms with the crisis in the meaning of black politics during the post–civil rights era as evidenced in the unknown trajectories of black protests. The authors' timely essays frame black protests and the implications of contemporary police killings of black people as symptomatic of a crisis in black politics within the white limits of liberal democracy.
Topics in this issue include the contemporary politics of black rage; the significance of the Ferguson and Baltimore black protests in circumventing formal electoral politics; the ways in which centering the dead black male body draws attention away from other daily forms of racial and gender violence that particularly affect black women; the problem of white nationalisms motivated by a sense of white grievance; the international and decolonial dimensions of black politics; and the relation between white sovereignty and black life politics.