The First Black Slave Society: Britain’s “Barbarity Time “in Barbados, 1636-1876

Author Professor Hilary McD. Beckles Summary In this remarkable exploration of the brutal course of Barbados’s history, Hilary McD. Beckles details the systematic barbarism of the British colonial project. Trade in enslaved Africans was not new in the Americas in the seventeenth century – the Portuguese and Spanish had commercialized chattel slavery in Brazil and […]

The Caribbean Oral Tradition – Literature, Performance, and Practice

Author Hanétha Vété-Congolo Summary The book uses an innovative prism of interorality that powerfully reevaluates Caribbean orality and innovatively casts light on its overlooked and fundamental epistemological contribution into the formation of Caribbean philosophy. It defines the innovative prism of interorality as the systematic transposition of previously composed storytales into new and distinct tales. The […]

The Boy Who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye

Author Manu Herbstein Summary Sargrenti is the name by which Major General Sir Garnet Wolseley, KCMG (1833 – 1913) is still known in the West African state of Ghana. Kofi Gyan, the 15-year old boy who spits in Sargrenti’s eye, is the nephew of the chief of Elmina, a town on the Atlantic coast of Ghana. […]

Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Author Manu Herbstein Summary “I am a human being; I am a woman; I am a black woman; I am an African. Once I was free; then I was captured and became a slave; but inside me, here and here, I am still a free woman.”During a period of four hundred years, European slave traders […]

Chocolate Surrealism Music, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean

Author Njoroge Njoroge Summary A vibrant take on the global connections empowering Caribbean music and its global transferences In Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean (University Press of Mississippi, Caribbean Studies Series) Njoroge Njoroge highlights connections among the production, performance, and reception of popular music at critical historical junctures in the […]

The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space (2015)

The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space (2015)

Author Andrea E. Frohne Summary In 1991, archaeologists in lower Manhattan unearthed a stunning discovery. Buried since 1795 was a cemetery containing remains of up to 20,000 people. Tracing the area from a forgotten site to a contested and negotiated space, Frohne illustrates visually, spiritually, and spatially the historic and contemporary formation of a New […]

Anthem - Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014)

Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014)

Author Shana L. Redmond Summary Shana Redmond excavates the sonic histories of the African diaspora through a genre emblematic of Black solidarity and citizenship: anthems. An interdisciplinary cultural history, Anthem reveals how this “sound franchise” contributed to the growth and mobilization of the modern, Black citizen. Providing new political frames and aesthetic articulations for protest […]

Archives of the Black Atlantic: Reading Between Literature and History (2013)

Archives of the Black Atlantic: Reading Between Literature and History (2013)

Author Wendy W. Walters Summary Through literary engagement with the archives of the slave trader, colonizer, and courtroom, this book analyzes how black historical literature presents new methodologies for studying both the archive and literature itself. This book engages in transnational and interdisciplinary readings that expose the instability of the archive’s truth claims and highlight […]

Being Apart: Theoretical and Existential Resistance in Africana Literature (2015)

Being Apart: Theoretical and Existential Resistance in Africana Literature (2015)

Author LaRose T. Parris Summary “Being Apart” presents a theory of Africana literature that analyses the marginalization of Africana knowledge production in the West during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. By highlighting Africana thinkers’ theoretical resistance to their elisions in Western discourse, this study presents critiques of Enlightenment, Hegelian, and Marxist thought as formative […]

Black Social Movements in Latin America: From Monocultural Mestizaje to Multiculuralism (2012)

Black Social Movements in Latin America: From Monocultural Mestizaje to Multiculuralism (2012)

Author Jean Muteba Rahier Summary This collection of essays aims to explore the transformations of the political landscapes within which Afro Latino social movements have been operating since the end of the 1970s. It is premised on the assertion that, distinctively in different national contexts, the major characteristic of these transformations has been the ideological […]

Blackness in the Andes: Ethnographic Vignettes of Cultural Politics in the Time of Multiculturalism (2014)

Blackness in the Andes: Ethnographic Vignettes of Cultural Politics in the Time of Multiculturalism (2014)

Author Jean Muteba Rahier Summary Jean Muteba Rahier examines the cultural politics of Afro-Ecuadorian populations within the context of the Andean region’s recent pivotal history and the Latin American ‘multicultural turn” of the past two decades, bringing contemporary political trends together with questions of race, space, and sexuality. http://www.amazon.com/Blackness-Andes-Ethnographic-Vignettes-Multiculturalism/dp/1137272716/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436457373&sr=1-5

Bodies and Bones: Feminist Rehearsal and Imagining Caribbean Belonging (2014)

Bodies and Bones: Feminist Rehearsal and Imagining Caribbean Belonging (2014)

Author Tanya L. Shields Summary Bodies and Bones argues that repeated engagement with the Caribbean’s historic touchstones offers a new sense of (inter)national belonging that brings an alternative vision to the gendered legacy of brutality against black bodies. Using a distinctive methodology, “feminist rehearsal,” to chart the Caribbean’s multiple and contradictory accounts of historical events […]

The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye (2014)

The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye (2014)

Author Manu Herbstein Summary This is a meticulously researched historical novel, beautifully situated in real events of late nineteenth-century Ghana. Manu Herbstein has done what the best cultural historians of Africa should do: that is, read between the lines of the colonial archives to imagine what it was like to be an African alive at […]

Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias/Knowledge from the Inside: Afro-South Americans Speak of their People and their Stories (in Spanish) (2013)

Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias/Knowledge from the Inside: Afro-South Americans Speak of their People and their Stories (in Spanish) (2013)

Author Sheila S. Walker Summary Español: Conocimiento desde adentro. Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias Sheila S. Walker La palabra diáspora, que quiere decir “sembrar a través”, hace alusión al proceso por el cual los africanos esclavizados, brutalmente desarraigados de todo lo que conocían, echaron nuevas raíces, produciendo nuevos frutos en las […]

Cuban Underground Hip Hop

Cuban Underground Hip Hop Black Thoughts, Black Revolution, Black Modernity

Author Tanya L. Saunders Summary In the wake of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, a key state ideology developed: racism was a systemic cultural issue that ceased to exist after the Revolution, and any racism that did persist was a result of contained cases of individual prejudice perpetuated by US influence. Even after the state officially […]

Gesture and Power

Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo

Author Yolanda Covington-Ward Summary “Gesture and Power makes very important contributions to our knowledge of cultural embodiment, African social life, and the political importance of everyday performance. This book is a deeply researched and profoundly experienced work that is the result of substantive and sensitive fieldwork in Lower Congo. Impressive in its scope, its depth, and […]

Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination (2014)

Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination (2014)

Author Rosamond S. King Summary Island Bodies analyzes the sexual norms and expectations portrayed in Caribbean and diaspora literature, music, film, and popular culture and how many individuals contest traditional roles by maneuvering within and/or trying to change binary gender systems. King demonstrates that these transgressions better represent Caribbean culture than the “official” representations perpetuated […]

Kings for Three Days: The Play of Race and Gender in an Afro-Ecuadorian Festival (2013)

Kings for Three Days: The Play of Race and Gender in an Afro-Ecuadorian Festival (2013)

Author Jean Muteba Rahier Summary With its rich mix of cultures, European influences, colonial tensions, and migration from bordering nations, Ecuador has long drawn the interest of ethnographers, historians, and political scientists. In this book, Jean Muteba Rahier delivers a highly detailed, thought-provoking examination of the racial, sexual, and social complexities of Afro-Ecuadorian culture, as […]

Kuma Malinke Historiography: Sundiata Keita to Almamy Samori Toure (2014)

Kuma Malinke Historiography: Sundiata Keita to Almamy Samori Toure (2014)

Author Nubia Kai Summary Founded in the early thirteenth century, the Mali Empire stretched from the Atlantic coast of West Africa across the savannah lands to Timbuktu and Gao. Comprised of multiple ethic groups, Mali was politically dominated by the Mandenka people who developed a comprehensive, eloquent, and ennobling historical tradition that has generated international […]

Las Criadas de La Habana (2015)

Las Criadas de La Habana (2015)

Author Pedro Perez-Sarduy Summary This is a novel whose point of departure is the oral history of a domestic worker in pre-revolutionary Havana. Marta, the unschooled black woman who is the central character, is ideally placed to observe the disparate worlds she connects: that of the wealthy white families and that of the poor black […]

The Legacy of Eric Williams: Into the Postcolonial Moment (2015)

The Legacy of Eric Williams: Into the Postcolonial Moment (2015)

Author Tanya L. Shields Summary The Legacy of Eric Williams provides an indispensable and significant understanding of Eric Williams’s contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and his impact on the broader international understanding of the Caribbean. This book stands out because of its simultaneous investigation into Eric Williams as a scholar/intellectual, a political leader, and, most […]

Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic (2015)

Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic (2015)

Author Wendy Wilson-Fall Summary Starting with contemporary family narratives, this book combines oral histories with historic documentation to explore a little known aspect of the African diaspora in the Americas. Demonstrating the intersectionality of Atlantic and Indian Ocean histories of the slave trade, the text addresses issues of memory, history, and identity in the ‘old […]

Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles (2015)

Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles (2015)

Author Alaí Reyes-Santos Summary What has determined whether Antillean solidarity movements succeed? Alaí Reyes-Santos argues that the crucial factor has been the extent to which Dominicans, Haitians, and Puerto Ricans imagine each other as kin. She uncovers the conflicts, secrets, and internal hierarchies that characterize kinship among Antilleans, but she also discovers how they have […]

Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response (2013)

Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response (2013)

Author Tanya Katerí Hernández Summary This book disrupts the traditional narrative of Latin America’s legally benign racial past by comprehensively examining the existence of customary laws of racial regulation and the historic complicity of Latin American states in erecting and sustaining racial hierarchies. Tanya Katerí Hernández is the first author to consider the salience of […]

Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (2015)

Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (2015)

Author Sharony Green Summary It is generally recognized that antebellum interracial relationships were “notorious” at the neighborhood level. But we have yet to fully uncover the complexities of such relationships, especially from freedwomen’s and children’s points of view. While it is known that Cincinnati had the largest per capita population of mixed race people outside […]

Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women (2014)

Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women (2014)

Author LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant Summary Talking to the Dead is an ethnography of seven Gullah/Geechee women from the South Carolina lowcountry who communicate with their ancestors through dreams, prayer, and visions and traditional crafts and customs. By examining this long-standing spiritual practice, Manigault-Bryant highlights the subversive ingenuity that lowcountry inhabitants use to thrive spiritually and […]

Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora (2015)

Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora (2015)

Author Nadia Ellis Summary Drawing on the work of Jose Muñoz, Territories of the Soul connects queerness’ utopian potential with diasporic aesthetics. Ellis locates these phenomena in the works of C.L.R. James, the testy encounter between George Lamming and James Baldwin at the 1956 Congress of Negro Artists and Writers in Paris, the elusiveness of […]

Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora (2015)

Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora (2015)

Author Cheryl R. Rodriguez Summary Transatlantic Feminisms is an interdisciplinary collection of original feminist research on women’s lives in Africa and the African diaspora. Demonstrating the power and value of transcontinental connections and exchanges between feminist thinkers, this unique collaboration addresses the need for global perspectives on gender, ethnicity, race and class. These themes are […]

Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions

Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions (2014)

Author LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant Summary African American playwright, actor, television producer and filmmaker Tyler Perry is an American cultural phenomenon. Perry has made over half a billion dollars through the development of films, plays, and television series that center storylines about black women, black communities, and black religion. This interdisciplinary text provides engages Perry’s current […]

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