Kafka’s Blues: Figurations of Racial Blackness in the Construction of an Aesthetic

Posted in Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-06-26 19:30Z by Steven

Kafka’s Blues: Figurations of Racial Blackness in the Construction of an Aesthetic

Northwestern University Press
June 2016
184 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8101-3286-3
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8101-3285-6
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8101-3287-0

Mark Christian Thompson, Associate Professor of English
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Kafka’s Blues proves the startling thesis that many of Kafka’s major works engage in a coherent, sustained meditation on racial transformation from white European into what Kafka refers to as the “Negro” (a term he used in English). Indeed, this book demonstrates that cultural assimilation and bodily transformation in Kafka’s work are impossible without passage through a state of being “Negro.” Kafka represents this passage in various ways—from reflections on New World slavery and black music to evolutionary theory, biblical allusion, and aesthetic primitivism—each grounded in a concept of writing that is linked to the perceived congenital musicality of the “Negro,” and which is bound to his wider conception of aesthetic production. Mark Christian Thompson offers new close readings of canonical texts and undervalued letters and diary entries set in the context of the afterlife of New World slavery and in Czech and German popular culture.

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A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-06-26 01:43Z by Steven

A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

University Press of Florida
2001-11-30
208 pages
5.5 x 8.5
Hardcover ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2285-7

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Patsy West

With A Seminole Legend, Betty Mae Jumper joins the ranks of Native American women who are coming forward to tell their life experiences. This collaboration between Jumper and Patsy West, an ethnohistorian who contributes general tribal history, is a rare and authentic account of a pioneering Florida Seminole family. It will take its place in Seminole literature, historical and anthropological studies, Florida history, women’s history, and Native American studies.

Betty Mae Tiger was born in 1923 to a Seminole Indian mother and a French trapper father, a fair-skinned half-breed who was nearly put to death at age five by tribal medicine men. Her inspiring autobiography is the story of the most decorated member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida—a political activist, former nurse, and alligator wrestler, who today has her own web site.

Jumper is also a beloved story-teller, renowned for passing along tribal legends. In this book she describes her family’s early conversion to Christianity and discusses such topics as miscegenation, war and atrocities, the impact of encroaching settlement on traditional peoples, and the development of the Dania/Hollywood Reservation. She became the first formally educated Florida Seminole, attending a government boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina, where at age 14 she learned to speak English.

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Legend of the Free State of Jones

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Monographs, United States on 2016-06-24 00:56Z by Steven

Legend of the Free State of Jones

University Press of Mississippi
2009-10-07
143 pages
3 maps, 7 b&w illustrations
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Paper ISBN: 978-1-60473-571-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60473-572-7

Rudy H. Leverett

The original, full accounting of a rebellion in the heart of Dixie

A maverick, unionist district in the heart of the Old South? A notorious county that seceded from the Confederacy? This is how Jones County, Mississippi, is known in myth and legend.

Since 1864 the legend has persisted. Differing versions give the name of this new nation as Republic of Jones, Jones County Confederacy, and Free State of Jones. Over the years this story has captured the imaginations of journalists, historians, essayists, novelists, short story writers, and Hollywood filmmakers, although serious scholars long ago questioned the accuracy of local history accounts about a secessionist county led by Newt Knight and a band of renegades.

Legend of the Free State of Jones was the first authoritative explanation of just what did happen in Jones County in 1864 to give rise to the legend. This book surveys the facts, the records, and the history of the “Free State of Jones” and well may provide the whole story.

Rudy H. Leverett was born in an unplumbed cabin in the woods outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He had a doctoral degree in education and spent his life writing extensively on the subjects of philosophy, the American South, and the McLemore family. He died on his birthday in 1999.

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Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-22 20:25Z by Steven

Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Duke University Press
2014
368 pages
51 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5713-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5725-4

Christopher J. Lee, Research Associate
WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

In Unreasonable Histories, Christopher J. Lee unsettles the parameters and content of African studies as currently understood. At the book’s core are the experiences of multiracial Africans in British Central Africa—contemporary Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Drawing on a spectrum of evidence—including organizational documents, court records, personal letters, commission reports, popular periodicals, photographs, and oral testimony—Lee traces the emergence of Anglo-African, Euro-African, and Eurafrican subjectivities which constituted a grassroots Afro-Britishness that defied colonial categories of native and non-native. Discriminated against and often impoverished, these subaltern communities crafted a genealogical imagination that reconfigured kinship and racial descent to make political claims and generate affective meaning. But these critical histories equally confront a postcolonial reason that has occluded these experiences, highlighting uneven imperial legacies that still remain. Based on research in five countries, Unreasonable Histories ultimately revisits foundational questions in the field, to argue for the continent’s diverse heritage and to redefine the meanings of being African in the past and present—and for the future.

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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2016-06-19 23:43Z by Steven

The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Oxford University Press
2016-09-01
336 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780190612726

Catherine Fletcher, Historian, Author, AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2015

  • The first-ever biography of Alessandro de’ Medici, arguably the first black head of state
  • Draws on extensive archival research of first-hand sources
  • An accessible and dramatic retelling of Renaissance politics and rivalry

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de’ Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de’ Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro’s noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance.

Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence’s oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was—and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli’s Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence.

Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro’s unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.

Table of Contents

  • Family tree
  • Glossary of names
  • Timeline
  • Maps
  • A note on money
  • Prologue
  • Book One: The Bastard Son
  • Book Two: The Obedient Nephew
  • Book Three: The Prince Alone
  • Afterword: Alessandro’s Ethnicity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
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JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-06-19 23:42Z by Steven

JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

University of Nebraska Press
July 2016
198 pages
6 tables, 1 appendix
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8565-1

Helen Kiyong Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Samuel Leavitt, Associate Dean of Students
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.

JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt’s book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt’s research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.

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Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-06-19 23:41Z by Steven

Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

The Majority Press
1989
214 pages
5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-0912469263

Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2014)

Translated by Elisa Larkin Nascimento

Nascimento explodes the myth of a “racial democracy” in Brazil. The author is a major figure in Afro-Brazilian arts, politics and scholarship. He founded the Black Experimental Theatre in Rio de Janeiro in 1944 and was an elected member of the Brazilian Congress from 1982 to 1986.

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Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-06-19 23:41Z by Steven

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press
August 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
6 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-9306-7

Jennifer L. Palmer, Assistant Professor of History
University of Georgia

Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.

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Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-06-19 17:49Z by Steven

Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Princeton University Press
November 2016
344 pages
6 x 9
12 line illus.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691169453
eBook ISBN: 9781400883745

Daniel Hack, Associate Professor of English
University of Michigan

Tackling fraught but fascinating issues of cultural borrowing and appropriation, this groundbreaking book reveals that Victorian literature was put to use in African American literature and print culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in much more intricate, sustained, and imaginative ways than previously suspected. From reprinting and reframing “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in an antislavery newspaper to reimagining David Copperfield and Jane Eyre as mixed-race youths in the antebellum South, writers and editors transposed and transformed works by the leading British writers of the day to depict the lives of African Americans and advance their causes. Central figures in African American literary and intellectual history—including Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, and W.E.B. Du Bois—leveraged Victorian literature and this history of engagement itself to claim a distinctive voice and construct their own literary tradition.

In bringing these transatlantic transfigurations to light, this book also provides strikingly new perspectives on both canonical and little-read works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and other Victorian authors. The recovery of these works’ African American afterlives illuminates their formal practices and ideological commitments, and forces a reassessment of their cultural impact and political potential. Bridging the gap between African American and Victorian literary studies, Reaping Something New changes our understanding of both fields and rewrites an important chapter of literary history.

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Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-06-19 02:33Z by Steven

Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities

Princeton University Press
September 2016
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691172354
eBook ISBN: 9781400883233

Rogers Brubaker, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

In the summer of 2015, shortly after Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender, the NAACP official and political activist Rachel Dolezal was “outed” by her parents as white, touching off a heated debate in the media about the fluidity of gender and race. If Jenner could legitimately identify as a woman, could Dolezal legitimately identify as black?

Taking the controversial pairing of “transgender” and “transracial” as his starting point, Rogers Brubaker shows how gender and race, long understood as stable, inborn, and unambiguous, have in the past few decades opened up—in different ways and to different degrees—to the forces of change and choice. Transgender identities have moved from the margins to the mainstream with dizzying speed, and ethnoracial boundaries have blurred. Paradoxically, while sex has a much deeper biological basis than race, choosing or changing one’s sex or gender is more widely accepted than choosing or changing one’s race. Yet while few accepted Dolezal’s claim to be black, racial identities are becoming more fluid as ancestry—increasingly understood as mixed—loses its authority over identity, and as race and ethnicity, like gender, come to be understood as something we do, not just something we have. By rethinking race and ethnicity through the multifaceted lens of the transgender experience—encompassing not just a movement from one category to another but positions between and beyond existing categories—Brubaker underscores the malleability, contingency, and arbitrariness of racial categories.

At a critical time when gender and race are being reimagined and reconstructed, Trans explores fruitful new paths for thinking about identity.

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