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.

Honeypot

In Honeypot, E. Patrick Johnson combines magical realism, poetry, and performative writing to bear witness to the real-life stories of black southern queer women in ways that reveal the complexity of identity and the challenges these women face.

The concluding volume in a poetic triptych that began with Spill, and continued with M Archive, Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise.

In Everything Man, Shana L. Redmond traces Paul Robeson’s continuing cultural resonances in popular culture and politics, showing how he remains a vital force and presence for all those he inspired.

afterlife ofIn The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery, Alys Eve Weinbaum investigates the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary capitalism, showing how black feminist thought offers the best means through which to understand the myriad ways slavery continues to haunt the present.

Allyson Nadia Field and Marsha Gordon examine the place and role of race in educational films, home movies, industry and government films, anthropological films, church films, and other forms of noncommercial filmmaking throughout the twentieth century in Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film.

Peoples History of DetroitMark Jay and Philip Conklin use a Marxist framework to tell a sweeping story of Detroit from 1913 to the present in A People’s History of Detroit, which comes out in May. It outlines the complex socio-political dynamics underlying major events in Detroit’s past, from the rise of Fordism and the formation of labor unions to deindustrialization and the city’s recent bankruptcy. 

In Art for People’s Sake, Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how its artistic innovations, institution building, and community engagement helped the residents of Chicago’s South and West Sides respond to social, political, and economic marginalization.

In Black Madness :: Mad Blackness, Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

UnfixedJennifer Bajorek traces the relationship between photography and decolonial politics in Francophone west Africa in the years immediately leading up to and following independence from French colonial rule in 1960 in Unfixed. She shows how photography both reflected and actively contributed to social and political change. 

In Beneath the Surface, Lynn M. Thomas constructs a transnational history of skin lighteners in South Africa and beyond theorizing skin and skin color as a site for antiracist struggle and lighteners as a technology of visibility that both challenges and entrenches racial and gender hierarchies.

Beyond countering the brutalizing omission of black British artists in both the art scene and art history chronicles, “Black British Art Histories,” an issue of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, presents perceptive, probing, and illuminating considerations of a range of artists whose practices are fascinating, complex, and of great art-historical importance.

The essays in “Trajectories in Race and Diaspora: Entangled Histories and Affinities of Transgression,” an issue of Qui Parle edited by Donna Honarpisheh, unfold at the dynamic intersections of race and diaspora in a global context. Each essay is preoccupied with how race—as an ontological category born of violence—produces edges, wounds, or incisions that nurture opportunities for further ontological transgressions with possible liberatory potentials.

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