Scholars in many fields increasingly find themselves caught between the academy, with its demands for rigor and objectivity, and direct engagement in social activism. Some advocate on behalf of the communities they study; others incorporate the knowledge and leadership of their informants directly into the process of knowledge production. What ethical, political, and practical tensions arise in the course of such work? In this wide-ranging and multidisciplinary volume, leading scholar-activists map the terrain on which political engagement and academic rigor meet.
Contributors: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Edmund T. Gordon, Davydd Greenwood, Joy James, Peter Nien-chu Kiang, George Lipsitz, Samuel Martínez, Jennifer Bickham Mendez, Dani Nabudere, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Jemima Pierre, Laura Pulido, Shannon Speed, Shirley Suet-ling Tang, João Vargas
We can reach every point in the world but, more importantly, we can be reached from any point in the world. Privacy and its possibilities are abolished. Attention is under siege everywhere. Not silence but uninterrupted noise, not the red desert, but a cognitive space overcharged with nervous incentives to act: this is the alienation of our times….—from The Soul at WorkCapital has managed to overcome the dualism of body and soul by establishing a workforce in which everything we mean by the Soul—language, creativity, affects—is mobilized for its own benefit. Industrial production put to work bodies, muscles, and arms. Now, in the sphere of digital technology and cyberculture, exploitation involves the mind, language, and emotions in order to generate value—while our bodies disappear in front of our computer screens.
Nonfiction. Criticism and Theory. Political Science. An infinite series of bifurcations: this is how we can tell the story of our life, of our loves, but also the history of revolts, defeats and restorations of order. At any given moment different paths open up in front of us, and we are continually presented with the alternative of going here or going there. Then we decide, we cut out from a set of infinite possibilities and choose a single path. But do we really choose? Is it really a question of a choice, when we go here rather than there? Is it really a choice, when masses go to shopping centers, when revolutions are transformed into massacres, when nations enter into war? It is not we who decide but the concatenations: machines for the liberation of desires and mechanisms of control over the imaginary. The fundamental bifurcation is always this one: between machines for liberating desire and mechanisms of control over the imaginary. In our time of digital mutation, technical automatisms are taking control of the social psyche.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile.
Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University’s Toni Morrison Lecture Series, here Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.
As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family-motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce-pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.
Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
After 1989, capitalism has successfully presented itself as the only realistic political-economic system - a situation that the bank crisis of 2008, far from ending, actually compounded. The book analyses the development and principal features of this capitalist realism as a lived ideological framework. Using examples from politics, films, fiction, work and education, it argues that capitalist realism colours all areas of contemporary experience. But it will also show that, because of a number of inconsistencies and glitches internal to the capitalist reality program capitalism in fact is anything but realistic.
The Situationist book that helped inspire the May 1968 revolt in France. Arguably the most influential book of radical theory in the last fifty years. This new translation by Ken Knabb is the only edition to include extensive annotations, clarifying the sources, references and allusions in this very pithy and complex work.
One of the leading writers of African American intellectual life in the second half of the twentieth century, Harold Cruse first came to international attention in 1967 with the publication of his influential and inflammatory book, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. This fiercely opinionated and deeply informed critique of both integrationism and black nationalism established Cruse as a bold new voice on race and resistance in America.
First published in the wake of The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual’s success, Rebellion or Revolution? collects reviews and essays Cruse wrote between 1950 and 1966, examining the relevance of such figures as James Baldwin, Booker T. Washington, Albert Camus, and Josephine Baker, as well as such subjects as Marxism and the African American community, the economics of black nationalism, and the emerging Black Power movement. Rebellion or Revolution? contains a number of significant writings not available elsewhere.
Now, with a new foreword by Cedric Johnson, this work finally emerges as both an essential document from a crucial moment in African American history and a road map to the origins and evolution of Cruse’s critical thought, asserting its importance in today’s debates on race in America.
Sieze The Time is Bobby Seale’s, a longtime activist and co-founder of The Black Panther Party, riveting first-person account on the evolution of The Party as a national organization. In the words of Seale the book “…continues to have a universal apppeal as an account of an oppressed people’s struggle for human liberation.”
The first comprehensive collection of writings by the Black Panther Party founder and revolutionary icon of the black liberation era, The Huey P. Newton Reader combines now-classic texts ranging in topic from the formation of the Black Panthers, African Americans and armed self-defense, Eldridge Cleaver’s controversial expulsion from the Party, FBI infiltration of civil rights groups, the Vietnam War, and the burgeoning feminist movement with never-before-published writings from the Black Panther Party archives and Newton’s private collection, including articles on President Nixon, prison martyr George Jackson, Pan-Africanism, affirmative action, and the author’s only written account of his political exile in Cuba in the mid-1970s. Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Geronimo Pratt all came to international prominence through Newton’s groundbreaking political activism. Additionally, Newton served as the Party’s chief intellectual engine, conversing with world leaders such as Yasser Arafat, Chinese Premier Chou Enlai, and Mozambique President Samora Moises Machel among others.
When Aunt Jemima beamed at Americans from the pancake mix box on grocery shelves, many felt reassured by her broad smile that she and her product were dependable. She was everyone’s mammy, the faithful slave who was content to cook and care for whites, no matter how grueling the labor, because she loved them. This far-reaching image of the nurturing black mother exercises a tenacious hold on the American imagination.
Micki McElya examines why we cling to mammy. She argues that the figure of the loyal slave has played a powerful role in modern American politics and culture. Loving, hating, pitying, or pining for mammy became a way for Americans to make sense of shifting economic, social, and racial realities. Assertions of black people’s contentment with servitude alleviated white fears while reinforcing racial hierarchy. African American resistance to this notion was varied but often placed new constraints on black women.
"Black is Beautiful!" The words were the exuberant rallying cry of a generation of black women who threw away their straightening combs and adopted a proud new style they called the Afro. The Afro, as worn most famously by Angela Davis, became a veritable icon of the Sixties.
Although the new beauty standards seemed to arise overnight, they actually had deep roots within black communities. Tracing her story to 1891, when a black newspaper launched a contest to find the most beautiful woman of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig documents how black women have negotiated the intersection of race, class, politics, and personal appearance in their lives. Craig takes the reader from beauty parlors in the 1940s to late night political meetings in the 1960s to demonstrate the powerful influence of social movements on the experience of daily life. With sources ranging from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activists and men and women who stood on the sidelines to black popular magazines and the black movement press, Ain’t I a Beauty Queen? will fascinate those interested in beauty culture, gender, class, and the dynamics of race and social movements.