The Trouble with Post-Blackness

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-25 21:25Z by Steven

The Trouble with Post-Blackness

Columbia University Press
February 2015
288 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780231169356
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231169349
E-book ISBN: 9780231538503

Edited by:

Houston A. Baker, Distinguished University Professor
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

K. Merinda Simmons, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
University of Alabama

An America in which the color of one’s skin no longer matters would be unprecedented. With the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, that future suddenly seemed possible. Obama’s rise reflects a nation of fluid populations and fortunes, a society in which a biracial individual could be embraced as a leader by all. Yet complicating this vision are shifting demographics, rapid redefinitions of race, and the instant invention of brands, trends, and identities that determine how we think about ourselves and the place of others.

This collection of original essays confronts the premise, advanced by black intellectuals, that the Obama administration marked the start of a “post-racial” era in the United States. While the “transcendent” and post-racial black elite declare victory over America’s longstanding codes of racial exclusion and racist violence, their evidence relies largely on their own salaries and celebrity. These essays strike at the certainty of those who insist life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are now independent of skin color and race in America. They argue, signify, and testify that “post-blackness” is a problematic mythology masquerading as fact—a dangerous new “race science” motivated by black transcendentalist individualism. Through rigorous analysis, these essays expose the idea of a post-racial nation as a pleasurable entitlement for a black elite, enabling them to reject the ethics and urgency of improving the well-being of the black majority.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Dubious Stage of Post-Blackness—Performing Otherness, Conserving Dominance, by K. Merinda Simmons
  • 1. What Was Is: The Time and Space of Entanglement Erased by Post-Blackness, by Margo Natalie Crawford
  • 2. Black Literary Writers and Post-Blackness, by Stephanie Li
  • 3. African Diasporic Blackness Out of Line: Trouble for “Post-Black” African Americanism, by Greg Thomas
  • 4. Fear of a Performative Planet: Troubling the Concept of “Post-Blackness”, by Rone Shavers
  • 5. E-Raced: #Touré, Twitter, and Trayvon, by Riché Richardson
  • 6. Post-Blackness and All of the Black Americas, by Heather D. Russell
  • 7. Embodying Africa: Roots-Seekers and the Politics of Blackness, by Bayo Holsey
  • 8. “The world is a ghetto”: Post-Racial America(s) and the Apocalypse, by Patrice Rankine
  • 9. The Long Road Home, by Erin Aubry Kaplan
  • 10. Half as Good, by John L. Jackson Jr.
  • 11. “Whither Now and Why”: Content Mastery and Pedagogy—a Critique and a Challenge, by Dana A. Williams
  • 12. Fallacies of the Post-Race Presidency, by Ishmael Reed
  • 13. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Post-Blackness (after Wallace Stevens), by Emily Raboteau
  • Conclusion: Why the Lega Mask Has Many Mouths and Multiple Eyes, by Houston A. Baker Jr.
  • List of Contributors
  • Index
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Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-07-20 02:51Z by Steven

Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production

University Press of Mississippi
2013-05-13
240 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, bibliography, index
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-61703-755-9

Crystal S. Anderson, Associate Professor of English
Elon University, Elon, North Carolina

From Bruce Lee to Samurai Champloo, how Asian fictions fuse with African American creative sensibilities

In this study, Crystal S. Anderson explores the cultural and political exchanges between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Asians over the last four decades. To do so, Anderson examines such cultural productions as novels (Frank Chin’s Gunga Din Highway [1999], Ishmael Reed’s Japanese by Spring [1992], and Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle [1996]); films (Rush Hour 2 [2001], Unleashed [2005], and The Matrix trilogy [1999-2003]); and Japanese animation (Samurai Champloo [2004]), all of which feature cross-cultural conversations. In exploring the ways in which writers and artists use this transferral, Anderson traces and tests the limits of how Afro-Asian cultural production interrogates conceptions of race, ethnic identity, politics, and transnational exchange.

Ultimately, this book reads contemporary black/Asian cultural fusions through the recurrent themes established by the films of Bruce Lee, which were among the first–and certainly most popular–works to use this exchange explicitly. As a result of such films as Enter the Dragon (1973), The Chinese Connection (1972), and The Big Boss (1971), Lee emerges as both a cross-cultural hero and global cultural icon who resonates with the experiences of African American, Asian American, and Asian youth in the 1970s. Lee’s films and iconic imagery prefigure themes that reflect cross-cultural negotiations with global culture in post-1990 Afro-Asian cultural production.

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Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, AD 1933-1940

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2012-08-08 01:58Z by Steven

Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, AD 1933-1940

Random House
1999 (Originally Published: 1931)
208 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-375-75380-0

George S. Schuyler (1895-1977)

Introduction by Ishmael Reed

What would happen to the race problem in America if black people turned white? Would everybody be happy? These questions and more are answered hilariously in Black No More, George S. Schuyler’s satiric romp. Black No More is the story of Max Disher, a dapper black rogue of an insurance man who, through a scientific transformation process, becomes Matthew Fisher, a white man. Matt dreams up a scam that allows him to become the leader of the Knights of Nordica, a white supremacist group, as well as to marry the white woman who rejected him when he was black. Black No More is a hysterical exploration of race and all its self-serving definitions. If you can’t beat them, turn into them.

Ishmael Reed, one of today’s top black satirists and the author of Mumbo Jumbo and Japanese by Spring, provides a spirited Introduction.

The fertile artistic period now known as the Harlem Renaissance (1920-1930) gave birth to many of the world-renowned masters of black literature and is the model for today’s renaissance of black writers.

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Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination

Posted in Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-03-18 19:58Z by Steven

Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination

Florida State University
2009
201 pages

Tatia Jacobson Jordan

A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination follows the life and literary presence of the legendary figure, Marie Laveau. This female spiritualist lived in antebellum Louisiana from 1801-1881. After her death, her legend has continued to grow as evidenced by her presence in contemporary print and pop culture and the tens of thousands of visitors to her grave in New Orleans every year. Here, I contextualize Laveau in a pre-Civil war America by looking at the African American female in print and visual culture. I trace the beginnings of several tropes in literature that ultimately affect the relevancy of the Laveau figure as she appears and reappears in literature beginning with Zora Neale Hurston’s inclusion of Laveau in Mules and Men. I offer close readings of the appearance of these tropes in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, interrogate her connection to Caribbean lore in Tell My Horse, and show the evolution of this figure in several of Hurston’s short stories. I then offer close readings of the refiguring of Laveau in Robert Tallant’s works, Ishmael Reed’s novel The Last Days of Louisiana Red, and Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Marie Laveau trilogy. I intervene with contemporary scholarship by suggesting that novels like Corregidora by Gayl Jones, Mama Day by Gloria Naylor, and The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara draw not on a general conjure figure, as previously thought, but instead implicitly refashion feminist heroines that resemble Marie Laveau, characters with a circum-Atlantic consciousness that arise from Hurston’s literary legacy.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • List of Figures
  • Abstract
  • INTRODUCTION: “Looking for the Join”: Positioning Laveau Lore in American Studies
  • CHAPTER ONE: Historical Context: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Print Culture and Literature
  • CHAPTER TWO: “That’s what the old ones said in ancient times and we talk it again”: The Retelling of Laveau in Hurston’s Canon
  • CHAPTER THREE: “Dismissing” Laveau: Male Authorship in the Laveau Canon
  • CHAPTER FOUR: Glimpses of the Ghost: Hurston’s Legacy in Gloria Naylor, Toni Cade Barnbara, and Gayl Jones
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Hearing Voodoo, Writing Voodoo: Cultural Memory in Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Marie Laveau Trilogy
  • CHAPTER SIX: Coda
  • Appendix
  • References
  • Biographical Sketch

LIST OF FIGURES

  • Figure 1: “Marie Laveau,” 1920s; Franck Schneider after George Catlin Courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum
  • Figure 2: The Original Cover of Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman, 1899
  • Figure 3: “This is a white man’s government,”from Harper’s Weekly, 1868; Library of Congress
  • Figure 4: “‘Well, Missy! Heah we is!'”1913; Library of Congress
  • Figure 5: “Jinnoowine Johnson ticket. ‘Carrying the war into Africa,”‘ 1836; Library of Congress
  • Figure 6: “An Affecting Scene in Kentucky,” 1836; Library of Congress
  • Figure 7: “Children on the Lawn at Brookhill (Nanny Hiding Behind the Children) Courtesy of the Valentine Richmond Historical Center
  • Figure 8: Racist Mammy Postcard 1, 1900; Library of Congress
  • Figure 9: Racist Mammy Postcard 2, 1900; Library of Congress
  • Figure 10: “Mr. T. Rice as the original Jim Crow,” 1832; Sheet Music Cover Illustration
  • Figure 11: Zora Neale Hurston in the Caribbean; Library of Congress
  • Figure 12: Hurston’s Ft. Pierce Chronicle Column circa 1958
  • Figure 13: Cover of Fire!! Literary Magazine, 1926
  • Figure 14: “Voodoo Painting/’ Courtesy of the Robert Tallant Photograph Collection, Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library
  • Figure 15: “Marie Laveau,”2007, Courtesy of Artist Holly Sarre

Read the entire dissertation here.

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