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African identities have been written and rewritten in both British and African literature for decades. These revisions have opened up new formulations of what it really means to be British or African.
By comparing texts by authors from African and British backgrounds across a wide variety of political orientations, Simon Lewis analyzes the deeper relationships between colonizer and colonized. He brings issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality into the analysis, providing new ways for cultural scholars to think about how empire and colony have impacted one another from the late eighteenth century through the decades following World War II.
In his comparisons, Lewis focuses on commonalities rather than differences. By examining the work of writers including Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, T. S. Eliot, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Zoe Wicomb, Yvette Christianse, and Chris van Wyk, he demonstrates how Britain’s former African colonies influence British culture just as much as African culture was influenced by British colonization.
Lewis brings a uniquely informed perspective to the topic, having lived in South Africa, Tanzania, and Great Britain, and having taught African literature for over a decade. The book demonstrates his expert knowledge of local cultural history from 1945 to the present, in both Africa and Britain.
It has long been accepted that film helped shape the modernist novel and that modernist poetry would be inconceivable without the typewriter. Yet radio, a key influence on modernist literature, remains the invisible medium.
The contributors to Broadcasting Modernism argue that radio led to changes in textual and generic forms. Modernist authors embraced the emerging medium, creating texts that were to be heard but not read, incorporating the device into their stories, and using it to publicize their work. They saw in radio the same spirit of experimentation that animated modernism itself.
Because early broadcasts were rarely recorded, radio's influence on literary modernism often seems equally ephemeral in the historical record. Broadcasting Modernism helps fill this void, providing a new perspective for modernist studies even as it reconfigures the landscape of the era itself.
Church Arson in the American South
In the 1990s, churches across the southeastern United States were targeted and set ablaze. These arsonists predominately targeted African American congregations and captured the attention of the media nationwide. Using oral histories, newspaper accounts, and governmental reports, Christopher Strain gives a chronological account of the series of church fires.
Burning Faith considers the various forces at work, including government responses, civil rights groups, religious forces, and media coverage, in providing a thorough, comprehensive analysis of the events and their fallout. Arguing that these church fires symbolize the breakdown of communal bonds in the nation, Strain appeals for the revitalization of united Americans and the return to a sense of community.
Combining scholarly sophistication with popular readability, Strain has produced one of the first histories of the last decade that demonstrates that the increasing fragmentation of community in America runs deeper than race relations or prejudice.
Its Development and Implementation
Michael Boston offers a radical departure from other interpretations of Booker T. Washington by focusing on the latter’s business ideas and practices.
More specifically, Boston examines Washington as an entrepreneur, spelling out his business philosophy at great length and discussing the influence it had on black America. He analyzes the national and regional economies in which Washington worked and focuses on his advocacy of black business development as the key to economic uplift for African Americans.
The result is a revisionist book that responds to the skewed literature on Washington even as it offers a new framework for understanding him. Based upon a deep reading of the Tuskegee archives, it acknowledges Washington not only as a champion of black business development but one who conceived and implemented successful strategies to promote it as well.
The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington makes abundantly clear that Washington was not an accommodationist; it will be required reading for any future discussion of this titan of history.
A World Renewal Cult Heterarchy
Cahokia is located in the northern expanse of American Bottom, the largest of the Mississippian flood plains, and opposite St. Louis, Missouri. Byers overturns the current political characterization of this largest known North American prehistoric site north of Mexico. Rather than treating Cahokia as the seat of a dominant Native American polity, a "paramount chiefdom," Byers argues that it must be given a religious characterization as a world renewal cult center. Furthermore, the social and economic powers that it manifests must not be seen to reside in Cahokia itself but in multiple world renewal cults distributed across the American Bottom and in the nearby upland regions.
Byers argues that Cahokia can be thought of as an affiliation of mutually autonomous cults that pooled their labor and other resources and established their collective mission as the performance of world renewal rituals by which to maintain and enhance the sacred powers of the cosmos. The cults, he argues, adopted two forms of sacrifice: one was the incrementally staged manipulation of the deceased (burial, disinterment, bone cleaning, and reburial), with each unfolding step constituting a mortuary act having different and greater world renewal sacrificial force. The other was lethal human sacrifice--probably correlated with long distance warfare by which to procure victims.
Thomas Rice uses the concept of cannibalism (what he calls "dismemberment, ingestion, and reprocessing") to describe Joyce's incorporation of so many literary and cultural allusions, both "high" and "popular." Beginning with examples of actual and symbolic cannibalism that fascinated Joyce--the Donner party, the Catholic Eucharist--Rice moves on to the ways Joyce appropriated language and elements of material culture into his work.
In Cannibal Joyce, Rice deftly offers a wide range of surprising connections and fascinating insights. A look at Berlitz's approach to teaching language leads to an examination of Joyce's aesthetic of disjunction in language. He compares Joyce and Joseph Conrad in light of the difficulties of modernism for readers through a startling and convincing discussion of the condom. And by focusing attention on colonial tales of cannibalism and Britain's treatment of the Irish, he provides a unique perspective on Joyce's politics.
The poetry associated with Afrocubanismo has been of great interest to academics since the movement began in the late 1920s. Thomas Anderson’s detailed analysis infuses new life into the study of these remarkable works. Focusing on the representations of carnival and its comparsas (carnival bands and music), Carnival and National Identity in the Poetry of Afrocubanismo offers thought-provoking new readings of poems by seminal Cuban poets, demonstrating how their writings on and about these traditions both contributed to and detracted from the development of a recognizable Afro-Cuban identity.
This volume is the first to examine, from a literary perspective, the long-running debate between the proponents of Afro-Cuban cultural manifestations and the predominantly white Cuban intelligentsia who viewed these traditions as “backward” and counter to the interests of the young Republic. Including analyses of the work of Felipe Pichardo Moya, Alejo Carpentier, Nicolás Guillén, Emilio Ballagas, José Zacarías Tallet, Felix B. Caignet, Marcelino Arozarena, and Alfonso Camín, this rigorous, interdisciplinary volume offers a fresh look at the canon of Afrocubanismo and offers surprising insights into Cuban culture during the early years of the Republic.
Although numerous critics and scholars have considered the influence of Joyce's Catholicism on his works, most seem to have concluded that Joyce's intention was to subvert the church's power. Mary Lowe-Evans argues, on the contrary, that the net result of Joyce's Catholic nostalgia is an entanglement in rather than a liberation from the labyrinthine ways of theological exposition and Catholic ritual and politics, which has inspired in his readers an enduring admiration for institutional Catholicism.
Lowe-Evans explores the ways in which specific Catholic rituals and devotions vigorously promoted by the Catholic Church during the "Crisis in Modernism" (1850-1960) caused a nostalgic reaction in Joyce that informs and permeates his work. She also traces the subtle and direct influence Joyce had on the Catholic thinking of a diverse group of subsequent writers. She demonstrates that Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald seem to effect this nostalgia in their work in spite of themselves, while Flannery O'Connor and Thomas Merton purposely elicit it. Lowe-Evans discusses Joyce's enduring belief in the immortal soul and the religious faith and doubt of Merton with great sensitivity, broadening the appeal of the study.
The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s
The Challenge of Blackness examines the history and legacy of the Institute of the Black World (IBW), one of the most important Black Freedom Struggle organizations to emerge in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A think tank based in Atlanta, the IBW sought to answer King's question "Where do we go from here?" Its solution was to organize a broad array of leading Black activists, scholars, and intellectuals to find ways to combine the emerging academic discipline of Black Studies with the Black political agenda.
Throughout the 1970s, debates over race and class in the Unites States grew increasingly hostile, and the IBW's approach was ultimately unable to challenge the growing conservatism. By using the IBW as the lens through which to view these turbulent years, Derrick White provides an exciting new interpretation of the immediate post-civil rights years in America.
An Ancient Maya Farming Community
The farming community of Chan thrived for over twenty centuries, surpassing the longevity of many larger Maya urban centers. Between 800 BC and 1200 AD it was a major food production center, and this collection of essays reveals the important role played by Maya farmers in the development of ancient Maya society.
Chan offers a synthesis of compelling and groundbreaking discoveries gathered over ten years of research at this one archaeological site in Belize. The contributors develop three central themes, which structure the book. They examine how sustainable farming practices maintained the surrounding forest, allowing the community to exist for two millennia. They trace the origins of elite Maya state religion to the complex religious belief system developed in small communities such as Chan. Finally, they describe how the group-focused political strategies employed by local leaders differed from the highly hierarchical strategies of the Classic Maya kings in their large cities.
In breadth, methodology, and findings, this volume scales new heights in the study of Maya society and culture.