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Africana Studies & Research Center Faculty Books

Caribbean Spaces - Escapes from Twilight Zone

Overview

Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective.

From her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago to life and work in communities and universities in Nigeria, Brazil, England, and the United States, Carole Boyce Davies portrays a rich and fluid set of personal experiences. She reflects on these movements to understand the interrelated dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality embedded in Caribbean spaces, as well as many Caribbean people's traumatic and transformative stories of displacement, migration, exile, and sometimes return. Ultimately, Boyce Davies reestablishes the connections between theory and practice, intellectual work and activism, and personal and private space.

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Africa and World War II

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This volume considers the military, economic, and political significance of Africa during World War II. The essays feature new research and innovative approaches to the historiography of Africa and bring to the fore issues of race, gender, and labor during the war, topics that have not yet received much critical attention. It explores the experiences of male and female combatants, peasant producers, women traders, missionaries, and sex workers.

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Martin Heidegger Saved My Life

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In Martin Heidegger Saved My Life, Grant Farred combines autobiography with philosophical rumination to offer this unusual meditation on American racism. Farred grapples with why it is that Heidegger resonates so deeply with him instead of other, more predictable figures such as Malcolm X, W. E. B. DuBois, or Frantz Fanon.

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African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade: Vol. 2

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This volume explores diverse sources such as oral testimonies, possession rituals, Arabic language sources, European missionary, administrative and court records and African intellectual writings to discover what they can tell us about slavery and the slave trade in Africa. This book will be invaluable for students and researchers interested in the history of slavery, the slave trade and post-slavery in Africa.

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Mrs. Shaw: A Novel

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In the East African Kwatee Republic of the 1990s, the dictatorship is about to fall, and the nation’s exiles are preparing to return. One of these exiles, a young man named Kalumba, is a graduate student in the United States, where he encounters Mrs. Shaw, a professor emerita and former British settler who fled Kwatee’s postcolonial political and social turmoil.

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We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination

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This book presents an intellectual history of subaltern education, a critical analysis of the fate of Black Power ideologies in the post-segregation era, and a portrait of African-American self-activity at the neighborhood level. Rickford puts forth a groundbreaking explanation of Black Power's preoccupation with forging a new people.

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Nobody is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low

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This book traces the emergence and circulation of the down low in contemporary media and popular culture to show how these portrayals reinforce troubling perceptions of black sexuality. Reworking Eve Sedgwick’s notion of the “glass closet,” Snorton advances a new theory of such representations in which black sexuality is marked by hypervisibility and confinement, spectacle and speculation.

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Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age

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Investigating some of the primary technologies being used in educational settings and how a less structured and more open learning environment can effectively motivate students and non-traditional learners, this premier reference is a crucial source of information for educators, administrators, theorists, and other professionals in the field of education.

Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto

In a forthright and uncompromising manner, Olúfémi Táíwò explores Africa’s hostility toward modernity and how that hostility has impeded economic development and social and political transformation. What has to change for Africa to be able to respond to the challenges of modernity and globalization? Táíwò insists that Africa can renew itself only by fully engaging with democracy and capitalism and by mining its untapped intellectual resources.

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Problems, Promises, and Paradoxes of Aid: Africa’s Experience

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This book is an anthology of essays contributing new scholarship to the contemporary discourse on the concept of aid. It provides an interdisciplinary investigation of the role of aid in African development, compiling the work of historians, political scientists, legal scholars, and economists to examine where aid has failed and to offer new perspectives on how aid can be made more effective.

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Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

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Public schools are among America’s greatest achievements in modern history, yet from the earliest days of tax-supported education—today a sector with an estimated budget of over half a billion dollars—there have been intractable tensions tied to race and poverty. Now, in an era characterized by levels of school segregation the country has not seen since the mid-twentieth century, cultural critic and American studies professor Noliwe Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.

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The Hip Hop & Obama Reader

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Leading scholars and activists offer new perspectives on hip hop's role in political mobilization, grassroots organizing, campaign branding, and voter turnout, as well as the ever-changing linguistic, cultural, racial, and gendered dimensions of hip hop in the U.S. and abroad. This volume is essential reading for scholars and fans of hip hop, as well as those interested in the shifting relationship between democracy and popular culture.

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Freedom from Liberation: Slavery, Sentiment, and Literature in Cuba

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By exploring the complexities of enslavement in the autobiography of Cuban slave-poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797–1854), Gerard Aching complicates the universally recognized assumption that a slave's foremost desire is to be freed from bondage. As the only slave narrative in Spanish that has surfaced to date, Manzano's autobiography details the daily grind of the vast majority of slaves who sought relief from the burden of living under slavery.

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Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Retrospect: Africa's Development Beyond 2015

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This volume examines the impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Africa’s development post-2015. It assesses the current state of the MDGs in Africa by outlining the successes, gaps and failures of the state goals, including lessons learned. A unique feature of the book is the exposition on post-MDG’s agenda for Africa’s development.

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AMA ATA AIDOO at 70

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This erudite collection of writings from leading lights in the African literary community pays tribute to Ama Ata Aidoo through a broad spectrum of articles and personal memoirs from scholars of different generations and from other literary artists. The book conveys the full parameters of Aidoo’s place as a literary innovator and exponent of radical, social and cultural thought in Africa and internationally; especially on issues of African self-consciousness and gender equality. This important book is a celebration of Aidoo and her continuing commitment to elevate African writing on the world stage. She is one of Africa’s most courageous writers in her belief in Africans telling their own stories in a globalized world that often tends to marginalize the continent.

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Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist

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Ibrahim El-Salahi is one of the most influential figures in Sudanese modern art. Through his extraordinary artwork and remarkable writing and art criticism, he has made foundational contributions to the modernist movements in Africa and the Arab world. In his paintings, drawings, and illustrations, he engages with an array of traditional African, Arab, and Islamic visual sources as well as European art movements. His unique style transcends geographic and cultural boundaries and has inspired artists in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa for generations.

El-Salahi's art offers profound possibilities for understanding African and Arab modernisms and repositioning them within the context of a broader, global modernity. This book brings together more than five decades of his work, tracing a personal journey that originates in Sudan and leads to the artist's international schooling, his detention as a political prisoner in his home country, his self-imposed exile in Qatar, and his current life in the United Kingdom.

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She's Mad Rael

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"She's mad real. She don't front for nobody. If you listen to her music you learn stuff about her life and how she struggled to get where she is. She's not just singing about how she's out at the club."
New York high school student China on R&B singer Mary J. Blige

Overwhelmingly, Black teenage girls are negatively represented in national and global popular discourses, either as being "at risk" for teenage pregnancy, obesity, or sexually transmitted diseases, or as helpless victims of inner city poverty and violence. Such popular representations are pervasive and often portray Black adolescents' consumer and leisure culture as corruptive, uncivilized, and pathological. 
In She's Mad Real, Oneka LaBennett draws on over a decade of researching teenage West Indian girls in the Flatbush and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn to argue that Black youth are in fact strategic consumers of popular culture and through this consumption they assert far more agency in defining race, ethnicity, and gender than academic and popular discourses tend to acknowledge. Importantly, LaBennett also studies West Indian girls' consumer and leisure culture within public spaces in order to analyze how teens like China are marginalized and policed as they attempt to carve out places for themselves within New York's contested terrains.

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Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans: Race and Self-Determination in International Law

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Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans was first published in 1996. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

In this trenchant critique, Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui demonstrates the failure of international law to address adequately the issues surrounding African self-determination during decolonization. Challenging the view that the only requirement for decolonization is the elimination of the legal instruments that provided for direct foreign rule, Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans probes the universal claims of international law.

Grovogui begins by documenting the creation of the "image of Africa" in European popular culture, examining its construction by conquerors and explorers, scientists and social scientists, and the Catholic Church. Using the case of Namibia to illuminate the general context of Africa, he demonstrates that the principles and rules recognized in international law today are not universal, but instead reflect relations of power and the historical dominance of specific European states.

Grovogui argues that two important factors have undermined the universal applicability of international law: its dependence on Western culture and the way that international law has been structured to preserve Western hegemony in the international order. This dependence on Europeandominated models and legal apparatus has resulted in the paradox that only rights sanctioned by the former colonial powers have been accorded to the colonized, regardless of the latter's needs. In the case of Namibia, Grovogui focuses on the discursive strategies used by the West and their southern African allies to control the legal debate, as well as the tactics used by the colonized to recast the terms of the discussion.

Grovogui blends critical legal theory, historical research, political economy, and cultural studies with profound knowledge of contemporary Africa in general and Namibia in particular. Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans represents the very best of the new scholarship, moving beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries to illuminate issues of decolonization in Africa.

Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui is assistant professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University. He previously practiced law in his native Guinea.

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American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture)

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In 1957 Ghana became one of the first sub-Saharan African nations to gain independence from colonial rule. Over the next decade, hundreds of African Americans--including Martin Luther King Jr., George Padmore, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Pauli Murray, and Muhammad Ali--visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K. Gaines explains what attracted these Americans to Ghana and how their new community was shaped by the convergence of the Cold War, the rise of the U.S. civil rights movement, and the decolonization of Africa. 

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's president, posed a direct challenge to U.S. hegemony by promoting a vision of African liberation, continental unity, and West Indian federation. Although the number of African American expatriates in Ghana was small, in espousing a transnational American citizenship defined by solidarities with African peoples, these activists along with their allies in the United States waged a fundamental, if largely forgotten, struggle over the meaning and content of the cornerstone of American citizenship--the right to vote--conferred on African Americans by civil rights reform legislation.

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Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones

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In Left of Karl Marx, Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915–1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried in London’s Highgate Cemetery, to the left of Karl Marx—a location that Boyce Davies finds fitting given how Jones expanded Marxism-Leninism to incorporate gender and race in her political critique and activism.

Claudia Cumberbatch Jones was born in Trinidad. In 1924, she moved to New York, where she lived for the next thirty years. She was active in the Communist Party from her early twenties onward. A talented writer and speaker, she traveled throughout the United States lecturing and organizing. In the early 1950s, she wrote a well-known column, “Half the World,” for the Daily Worker. As the U.S. government intensified its efforts to prosecute communists, Jones was arrested several times. She served nearly a year in a U.S. prison before being deported and given asylum by Great Britain in 1955. There she founded The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean Newsand the Caribbean Carnival, an annual London festival that continues today as the Notting Hill Carnival. Boyce Davies examines Jones’s thought and journalism, her political and community organizing, and poetry that the activist wrote while she was imprisoned. Looking at the contents of the FBI file on Jones, Boyce Davies contrasts Jones’s own narration of her life with the federal government’s. Left of Karl Marx establishes Jones as a significant figure within Caribbean intellectual traditions, black U.S. feminism, and the history of communism.

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