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Biko's Ghost Cover

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Biko's Ghost

The Iconography of Black Consciousness

Shannen L. Hill

“When you say, ‘Black is Beautiful,’ what in fact you are saying . . . is: Man, you are okay as you are; begin to look upon yourself as a human being.” With such statements, Stephen Biko became the voice of Black Consciousness. And with Biko’s brutal death in the custody of the South African police, he became a martyr, an enduring symbol of the horrors of apartheid. Through the lens of visual culture, Biko’s Ghost reveals how the man and the ideology he promoted have profoundly influenced liberation politics and race discourse—in South Africa and around the globe—ever since.

Tracing the linked histories of Black Consciousness and its most famous proponent, Biko’s Ghost explores the concepts of unity, ancestry, and action that lie at the heart of the ideology and the man. It challenges the dominant historical view of Black Consciousness as ineffectual or racially exclusive, suppressed on the one side by the apartheid regime and on the other by the African National Congress.

Engaging theories of trauma and representation, and icon and ideology, Shannen L. Hill considers the martyred Biko as an embattled icon, his image portrayals assuming different shapes and political meanings in different hands. So, too, does she illuminate how Black Consciousness worked behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, a decade of heightened popular unrest and state censorship. She shows how—in streams of imagery that continue to multiply nearly forty years on—Biko’s visage and the ongoing life of Black Consciousness served as instruments through which artists could combat the abuses of apartheid and unsettle the “rainbow nation” that followed.

Bioart Cover

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Transformations du vivant

Edited by Ernestine Daubner

Les auteurs mettent sous le microscope diverses pratiques du bioart comme la culture de tissu humain, la manipulation génétique, le traitement de l’image et les codes ADN, l’appropriation du matériel de la vie ainsi que le corps et les signaux électriques humains.

A Bird Dance near Saturday City Cover

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A Bird Dance near Saturday City

Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade

Patrick R. McNaughton

In 1978, Patrick McNaughton witnessed a bird dance masquerade in the small town of Dogoduman. He was so affected by this performance that its dazzling artistic power has never left him. As he revisits that very special evening in A Bird Dance near Saturday City, McNaughton carefully considers the components of the performance, its pace, the performers, and what the entire experience means for understandings of Bamana and West African aesthetics and culture. The performance of virtuoso dancer Sidi Ballo becomes McNaughton's vehicle for understanding the power of individuals in African art and the power of aesthetics as a cultural phenomenon. Topics such as what makes art effective, what makes it "good," how production is wrapped in individual virtuosity, and what individual artistry suggests about society reveal how individuals work together to create the indelible experience of outstanding performance. This exuberant and captivating book will influence views of society, culture, art, history, and their makers in West Africa for years to come.

Black Art in Brazil Cover

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Black Art in Brazil

Expressions of Identity

Kimberly L. Cleveland

For decades, Afro-Brazilian art was primarily associated with religious themes. However, developments in the national discourse on race, ethnicity, and black art in the latter part of the twentieth century have produced a shift away from sacred symbols to art more representative of the complete Afro-Brazilian experience.

Kimberly Cleveland highlights the work of five Brazilian artists from all over the country who work in a wide range of media, including photography, sculpture, and installation art. She shows how each conveys "blackness" through his or her unique visual vocabulary and points out the ways this reflects their lived experiences. By examining how these artists explore their African cultural heritage in their work, Cleveland reveals the myriad ways in which they confront social, economic, political, and historical issues related to race in Brazil. Most important, Black Art in Brazil highlights how the markers of black art and culture in Brazil have continued to diversify.

Black Venus 2010: They Called Her

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Black Venus 2010: They Called Her "Hottentot"

As a young South African woman of about twenty, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called “Hottentot Venus,” was brought to London and placed on exhibit in 1810. Clad in the Victorian equivalent of a body stocking, and paraded through the streets and on stage in a cage she became a human spectacle in London and Paris. Baartman’s distinctive physique became the object of ridicule, curiosity, scientific inquiry, and desire until and after her premature death. The figure of Sarah Baartman was reduced to her sexual parts.


Black Venus 2010 traces Baartman’s memory in our collective histories, as well as her symbolic history in the construction and identity of black women as artists, performers, and icons. The wide-ranging essays, poems, and images in Black Venus 2010 represent some of the most compelling responses to Baartman. Each one grapples with the enduring legacy of this young African woman who forever remains a touchstone for black women.

Contributors include: Elizabeth Alexander, Holly Bass, Petrushka A Bazin, William Jelani Cobb, Lisa Gail Collins,  Renée Cox, J. Yolande Daniels, Carole Boyce Davies, Leon de Wailly, Manthia Diawara, Diana Ferrus, Cheryl Finley, Nikky Finney, Kianga K. Ford, Terri Francis, Sander Gilman, Renée Green, Joy Gregory, Lyle Ashton Harris, Michael D. Harris, Linda Susan Jackson, Kellie Jones, Roshini Kempadoo, Simone Leigh, Zine Magubane, E. Ethelbert Miller, Robin Mitchell, Charmaine Nelson, Tracey Rose, Radcliffe Roye, Bernadette Searle, Lorna Simpson, Debra S. Singer, Penny Siopis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Michele Wallace, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, J. T. Zealy, and the editor.

Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies Cover

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Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies

Gender and Desire in Early Twentieth-Century German and Austrian Novels and Paintings

Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies examines the diverse ways that literary works and paintings can be read as screens onto which new images of masculinity and femininity are cast. Esther Bauer focuses on German and Austrian writers and artists from the 1910s and 1920s —specifically authors Franz Kafka, Vicki Baum, and Thomas Mann, and painters Otto Dix, Christian Schad, and Egon Schiele—who gave spectacular expression to shifting trends in male and female social roles and the organization of physical desire and the sexual body.

Bauer’s comparative approach reveals the ways in which artists and writers echoed one another in undermining the gender duality and highlighting sexuality and the body. As she points out, as sites of negotiation and innovation, these works reconfigured bodies of desire against prevailing notions of sexual difference and physical attraction and thus became instruments of social transformation.

A Body of Vision Cover

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A Body of Vision

Representations of the Body in Recent Film and Poetry

Elder examines how artists such as Brakhage, Artaud, Schneemann, Cohen and others have tried to recognize and to convey primordial forms of experiences. He argues that the attempt to convey these primordial modes of awareness demands a different conception of artistic meaning from any of those that currently dominate contemporary critical discussion. By reworking theories and speech in highly original ways, Elder formulates this new conception. His remarks on the gaps in contemporary critical practices will likely become the focus of much debate.

Book of Texas Bays Cover

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Book of Texas Bays

By Jim Blackburn; Photography by Jim Olive

In a dazzling tribute to the Texas coast, conservationist and lawyer Jim Blackburn has teamed with photographer Jim Olive to give us the most intimate and important portrait yet of Texas bays and of those who work for their wise use and preservation. While giving life and sustenance to plants, animals, and people, the bays and estuaries of Texas have other stories to tell—about freshwater inflows, deep port construction, disappearing oyster beds, beach resorts, industrial pollution, and more. At a certain point, each story brings opposing forces into the courtroom for vigorous debates on the future of some of our most valuable and irreplaceable resources. The Book of Texas Bays is a personal account of legal battles won and lost, but it is also a fine work of natural history by someone who has a deep spiritual connection to the Texas coast and all it has to offer. Jim Olive’s stunning photographs present us with a dramatic perspective of our relationship with the Gulf and remind us of both the grandness and the fragility of our coastal treasures.

Born on the Island Cover

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Born on the Island

The Galveston We Remember

Art by Eugene Aubry; Text by Stephen Fox; Foreword by Lyda Ann Thomas

In sixty-seven exquisite watercolors and drawings, nationally famous architect Eugene Aubry captures on paper the sensibilities, the memories, and the grace that evokes Galveston, especially for those who are BOI (“born on the island”). Commissioned by the Galveston Historical Foundation, these works of art are intended to enhance the visual record of the buildings and the unique local architectural style that so many have appreciated over the years.? In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Galvestonians became more aware than ever of the treasure of the island’s historical architecture and the vulnerability of this heritage to forces beyond human control. Aubry’s art captures the almost palpable sense of past glories these buildings bring to mind. Aubry—himself BOI—has fashioned these pieces in a way that resonates with those who love the island’s ethos. ?With a fine eye to the artist’s intent and a mastery of detail, architectural historian Stephen Fox expertly and eloquently introduces the work as a whole and, in discursive captions that accompany each image, informs the reader’s appreciation of Aubry’s art.? So much more than a tribute, Born on the Island: The Galveston We Remember stands as a loving homage to Galveston—one that will call its readers home to the island, even if they have never ventured there before.

Bridge to Wonder Cover

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Bridge to Wonder

Art as a Gospel of Beauty

By Cecilia González-Andrieu

It is often difficult to describe beauty or even justify attempts to experience something beautiful. Yet if artists—whether painters or poets, actors or musicians, architects or sculptors—teach us anything, it is that the pursuit of beauty is a common feature among all humanity. As Cecilia González-Andrieu contends, these varied experiences with artistic beauty are embedded with revelatory and prophetic power that not only affects a single individual but allows for communal formation. Named one ofAmerica magazine’s most promising young theologians, González-Andrieu seeks to engage art in order to reveal its religious significance. Bridge to Wonder proposes a method of theological aesthetics allowing readers to mine the depths of creative beauty to discover variegated theological truths that enable greater communion with each other and the One source of all that is beautiful.

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