Black History Month Reads

To celebrate Black History Month, we are featuring some of our recent books and journals that explore Black and African-American history, issues, and culture.

978-1-4780-0089-1Bloodflowers by W. Ian Bourland examines the photography of Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989). Fani-Kayode’s art is a touchstone for cultural debates surrounding questions of gender and queerness, race and diaspora, aesthetics and politics, and the enduring legacy of slavery and colonialism.

In Black Feminism Reimagined, Jennifer C. Nash reframes black feminism’s engagement with intersectionality, contending that black feminists should let go of their possession and policing of the concept in order to better unleash black feminist theory’s visionary and world-making possibilities.

Drawing on writing by medieval thinkers and travelers, Enlightenment theories of race, the commodification of women’s bodies under slavery, and the work of Tyler Perry and Bishop T. D. Jakes, in Jezebel UnhingedTamura Lomax shows how black women are written into religious and cultural history as sites of sexual deviation. Lomax traces the historical and contemporary use of the jezebel trope in the black church and in black popular culture, showing how it disciplines black women and girls and preserves gender hierarchy, black patriarchy, and heteronormativity in black families, communities, cultures, and institutions.

ZaborowskaMagdalena J. Zaborowska uses James Baldwin’s house in the south of France as a lens through which to reconstruct his biography for her book Me and My House. She explores the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works.

In None Like Us Stephen Best offers a bold reappraisal of the critical assumptions that undergird black studies’ use of the slave past as an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, thereby opening the circuits between past and present and charting a queer future for black study.

In her book, Vexy Thing, Imani Perry recenters patriarchy to contemporary discussions of feminism through a social and literary analysis of cultural artifacts—ranging from nineteenth-century slavery court cases and historical vignettes to literature and contemporary art—from the Enlightenment to the present.

Black feminist critic Ann duCille combines cultural critique with personal reflections on growing up with TV as a child in the Boston suburbs in Technicolored to examine how televisual representations of African Americans—ranging from I Love Lucy to How to Get Away with Murder—have changed over the last sixty years.

In Murder on Shades Mountain, Melanie S. Morrison tells the tragic story of the murder and attempted murder of three young women in 1930s Birmingham, Alabama, and the aftermath, which saw a reign of terror unleashed on the town’s black community, the wrongful conviction and death sentencing of Willie Peterson, and a black-led effort to free Peterson.

MahlerFrom the Tricontinental to the Global South by Anne Garland Mahler traces the history and intellectual legacy of the understudied global justice movement called the Tricontinental and calls for a revival of the Tricontinental’s politics as a means to strengthen racial justice and anti-neoliberal struggles in the twenty-first-century.

In Fugitive Modernities, Jessica A. Krug traces the history and meaning of Kisama—a seventeenth-century fugitive slave community located in present-day Angola—by showing how it operated as a inspirational global symbol of resistance for fugitives on both sides of the Atlantic.

As the contributors to “African Feminisms,” a special issue of Meridians, show, African feminisms not only vary widely in form but also maintain vibrant and sometimes tense relations with one another around topics such as sexuality, national policies, and transnational solidarity. Read the issue, freely available through March 5.

Global Black Consciousness,” a special issue of Nka, aims to open up and complicate the key paradigms that have shaped the vibrant work on theories and cultural productions of the African diaspora. Contributors offer a critical and nuanced analysis of global black consciousness as both a citing of diasporic flows and a grounded site of decolonizing movement.

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