Reinterpretations for the New Century
Publication Year: 1997
Bringing together an impressive range of new scholarship deeply informed both by the legacies of the past and current intellectual trends, Race Consciousness is a veritable Who's Who of the next generation of scholars of African-American studies. This collection of original essays, representing the latest work in African-American studies, covers such trenchant topics as the culture of America as a culture of race, the politics of gender and sexuality, legacies of slavery and colonialism, crime and welfare politics, and African-American cultural studies. In his entertaining Foreword to the volume, Robin D. G. Kelley presents a startling vision of the state of African-American Studies--and the world in general--in the year 2095. Arnold Rampersad and Nell Irvin Painter, chart the different disciplinary and theoretical paths African-American Studies has taken since the 19th century in their Preface to the volume.
Published by: NYU Press
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FOREWORD: AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES ENTERS THE NEW CENTURY
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Who knows what will happen to African-American Studies in the new century? The twentieth century witnessed the extraordinary flourishing of a field of study that began small. In the nineteenth century it arose mainly to deny racist dogma that was contemptuous of people of African descent and envisioned...
PREFACE: IN MEDIAS RACE
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Consider the widespread media attention, internal and external dialogues, personal psychic time, and private conversation devoted to these African-American individuals in the last decade of the twentieth century. These well-known black figures have served as grist for the mill of cultural spectacle, fodder for the...
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Our jobs as editors were made easier through the efforts of many individuals and organizations. First and foremost, we thank our contributors for providing scholarship of excellent quality that literally takes African-American Studies into the new century. The essays in this volume began as presentations at "The...
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1 INTRODUCTION: LOOKING B(L)ACKWARD: AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES IN THE AGE OF IDENTITY POLITICS
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"Don't try to speak. If you can hear me, blink your eyes." The voice was faint but distinctive. Obviously a mature, learned man, though in the flood of bright lights he was little more than a brown silhouette....
one SPECTERS OF RACE: THE CULTURE OF AMERICA AS A CULTURE OF RACE
2 "WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?": W. E. B. DU BOIS AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE COLOR-LINE
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Between the end of the American Civil War and the beginning of the twentieth century, the understanding of black language became a fundamental part of debates concerning both the subjectivity of African Americans and their cultural influence on the American South and the American nation in general....
3 (K)NIGHT RIDERS IN (K)NIGHT GOWNS: THE KU KLUX KLAN, RACE, AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF MASCULINITY
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Decked out in his white robe and mask, spewing white supremacist platitudes during a guest appearance on Geraldo Rivera's talk show, the figure of the hypothetical 1990s member of the Ku Klux Klan may still shock an otherwise rational, even liberal American sensibility. But the Klan member who helped...
4 BLACKNESS 'SCUZED: JIMI HENDRIX'S (IN)VISIBLE LEGACY IN HEAVY METAL
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Musicologist Arnold Shaw's Dictionary of American Pop/Rock defines Chuck Berry as "the poet laureate of Teenage Rock."1 It denotes John Lennon as "the most outspoken [Beatle], evincing a sardonic wit that marked many of the songs he . . . wrote in the sixties."2 It even finds words to define Bob Dylan: a "gifted,...
two HISTORICAL (RE)VISIONS: LEGACIES OF SLAVERY AND COLONIALISM
5 UNDER ONE ROOF: THE SINS AND SANCTITY OF THE NEW ORLEANS QUADROON BALLS
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Somewhere in the oldest part of New Orleans, there is a woman in a fraying ball gown. With the posture of a cigar store Indian, she beckons from the doorway of a nightclub and smiles demurely at passersby. Across the street, in one of many souvenir shops, a menagerie of kerchiefed mammy dolls grin...
6 TRAUMATIC REPETITION: GAYL JONES'S CORREGIDORA
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Is the contemporary compulsion to repeat the haunting story of slavery, as Hazel Carby would have it, testimony to the past's continuing possession of African-American writers, critics, and theorists, in the form of an "ideology of the folk"?1 Or is it an attempt to master the past, as Deborah McDowell...
three RACE(D) MEN AND RACE(D) WOMEN: AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES
7 EXODUS AND THE POLITICS OF NATION
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No other story in the Bible has captured the imagination of African-American Christians the way Exodus has. The story's account of bondage, the trials of the Wilderness, and the final entrance into the Promised Land resonated within the hearts and minds of those who had experienced the hardships of chattel slavery...
8 "CAN SCIENCE SUCCEED: WHERE THE CIVIL WAR FAILED?": GEORGE S. SCHUYLER AND RACE
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The last two decades have seen much attention paid to a peculiar phenomenon in African-American culture and politics that has frequently been referred to as the "new black conservatism." The critical attention paid to the publication of works such as economist Thomas Sowell's...
9 HANGING ON THEIR WALLS: AN ART COMMENTARY ON LYNCHING, THE FORGOTTEN 1935 ART EXHIBITION
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Countless art exhibitions have been held in New York City in any given year since the second decade of the twentieth century, when the metropolis began to claim its place as art capital of the world. But before 1935, no gallery had hosted an exhibition specific to issues concerning African-American men. With the...
10 THE SOLES OF BLACK FOLK: THESE REEBOKS WERE MADE FOR RUNNIN' (FROM THE WHITE MAN)
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This essay is an attempt beyond myself, outside myself: a trying out of new techniques ("new" for me, at least), new "voices." It is an excerpt from an ethnography (of sorts) on Crown Heights, where I live, and on the folks who live there with me. But it is not a writing about all of Crown Heights and may...
four CRACKING THE CODE: EXPOSING THE NATION'S RACIAL NEUROSES
11 WHY GINGRICH?: WELFARE RIGHTS AND RACIAL POLITICS, 1965-1995
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Briefly, let me explain how I arrived at the topic of this essay. I am writing a study of the welfare rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and legal efforts to codify a right to welfare in the United States. The movement for welfare rights was a loosely federated organizing effort among recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (since...
12 CRIMINALITY AND CITIZENSHIP: IMPLICATING THE WHITE NATION
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One hundred years ago, racial separation, stratification, and white supremacy were the de jure and de facto laws and customs of the land. The struggle to undo these laws and enact new legislation toward the promise of greater equality has been one of the major political projects of the twentieth century. The...
13 JIM CROW SCIENCE AND THE "NEGRO PROBLEM" IN THE OCCUPIED PHILIPPINES, 1898-1914
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In 1901, William Freer landed at the port of Manila on the army transport Meade, ready to begin service as a school instructor in the newest outpost of the United States. "The sounds of the river and street life, the peculiar odors, the strange sights, were bewildering," he wrote in 1906. "The clouted Chinese...
14 BLACK POWER, WHITE FEAR: THE "NEGRO PROBLEM" IN LAWRENCE, KANSAS, 1960-1970
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Throughout the 1960s, Lawrence, a small community of forty-five thousand in northeast Kansas and home to the University of Kansas (KU), was racked by protests and demonstrations by students and civil rights activists. For more than a decade, Lawrencians agitating for civil rights, for more control over their...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 1997