Indiana University Press

Blacks in the Diaspora

Published by: Indiana University Press

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Blacks in the Diaspora

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Creolizing the Metropole

Migrant Caribbean Identities in Literature and Film

H. Adlai Murdoch

Creolizing the Metropole is a comparative study of postwar West Indian migration to the former colonial capitals of Paris and London. It studies the effects of this population shift on national and cultural identity and traces the postcolonial Caribbean experience through analyses of the concepts of identity and diaspora. Through close readings of selected literary works and film, H. Adlai Murdoch explores the ways in which these immigrants and their descendants represented their metropolitan identities. Though British immigrants were colonial subjects and, later, residents of British Commonwealth nations, and the French arrivals from the overseas departments were citizens of France by law, both groups became subject to otherness and exclusion stemming from their ethnicities. Murdoch examines this phenomenon and the questions it raises about borders and boundaries, nationality and belonging.

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Cuba's Racial Crucible

The Sexual Economy of Social Identities, 1750-2000

Karen Y. Morrison

Since the 19th century, assertions of a common, racially-mixed Cuban identity based on acceptance of African descent have challenged the view of Cubans as racially white. For the past two centuries, these competing views of Cuban racial identity have remained in continuous tension, while Cuban women and men make their own racially oriented choices in family formation. Cuba’s Racial Crucible explores the historical dynamics of Cuban race relations by highlighting the racially selective reproductive practices and genealogical memories associated with family formation. Karen Y. Morrison reads archival, oral-history, and literary sources to demonstrate the ideological centrality and inseparability of "race," "nation," and "family," in definitions of Cuban identity. Morrison analyzes the conditions that supported the social advance and decline of notions of white racial superiority, nationalist projections of racial hybridity, and pride in African descent.

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Deep Roots

Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora

Edda L. Fields-Black

Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was the mirror image of tidewater rice plantations worked by enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This book reconstructs the development of rice-growing technology among the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, beginning more than a millennium before the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals a picture of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, quite unlike the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of previous scholarship. From its examination of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots fashions a theory of cultural change that encompasses the diversity of communities, cultures, and forms of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.

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The Depression Comes to the South Side

Protest and Politics in the Black Metropolis, 1930-1933

Christopher Robert Reed

In the 1920s, the South Side was looked on as the new Black Metropolis, but by the turn of the decade that vision was already in decline -- a victim of the Depression. In this timely book, Christopher Robert Reed explores early Depression-era politics on Chicago's South Side. The economic crisis caused diverse responses from groups in the black community, distinguished by their political ideologies and stated goals. Some favored government intervention, others reform of social services. Some found expression in mass street demonstrations, militant advocacy of expanded civil rights, or revolutionary calls for a complete overhaul of the capitalist economic system. Reed examines the complex interactions among these various groups as they played out within the community as it sought to find common ground to address the economic stresses that threatened to tear the Black Metropolis apart.

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Free and French in the Caribbean

Toussaint Louverture, Aimé Césaire, and Narratives of Loyal Opposition

John Patrick Walsh

In Free and French in the Caribbean, John Patrick Walsh studies the writings of Toussaint Louverture and Aimé Césaire to examine how they conceived of and narrated two defining events in the decolonializing of the French Caribbean: the revolution that freed the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1803 and the departmentalization of Martinique and other French colonies in 1946. Walsh emphasizes the connections between these events and the distinct legacies of emancipation in the narratives of revolution and nationhood passed on to successive generations. By reexamining Louverture and Césaire in light of their multilayered narratives, the book offers a deeper understanding of the historical and contemporary phenomenon of "free and French" in the Caribbean.

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Freedom from Liberation

Slavery, Sentiment, and Literature in Cuba

Gerard Aching

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. Aching combines historical narrative and literary criticism to take the reader beyond Manzano's text to examine the motivations behind anticolonial and antislavery activism in pre-revolution Cuba, when Cuba's Creole bourgeoisie sought their own form of freedom from the colonial arm of Spain.

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Gold Coast Diasporas

Identity, Culture, and Power

Walter C. Rucker

Although they came from distinct polities and peoples who spoke different languages, slaves from the African Gold Coast were collectively identified by Europeans as "Coromantee" or "Mina." Why these ethnic labels were embraced and how they were utilized by enslaved Africans to develop new group identities is the subject of Walter C. Rucker’s absorbing study. Rucker examines the social and political factors that contributed to the creation of New World ethnic identities and assesses the ways displaced Gold Coast Africans used familiar ideas about power as a means of understanding, defining, and resisting oppression. He explains how performing Coromantee and Mina identity involved a common set of concerns and the creation of the ideological weapons necessary to resist the slavocracy. These weapons included obeah powders, charms, and potions; the evolution of "peasant" consciousness and the ennoblement of common people; increasingly aggressive displays of masculinity; and the empowerment of women as leaders, spiritualists, and warriors, all of which marked sharp breaks or reformulations of patterns in their Gold Coast past.

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Legacy of the Lash

Race and Corporal Punishment in the Brazilian Navy and the Atlantic World

Zachary R. Morgan

Legacy of the Lash is a compelling social and cultural history of the Brazilian navy in the decades preceding and immediately following the 1888 abolition of slavery in Brazil. Focusing on non-elite, mostly black enlisted men and the oppressive labor regimes under which they struggled, the book is an examination of the four-day Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Lash) of November 1910, during which nearly half of Rio de Janeiro’s enlisted men rebelled against the use of corporal punishment in the navy. These men seized four new, powerful warships, turned their guns on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s capital city, and held its population hostage until the government abolished the use of the lash as a means of military discipline. Although the revolt succeeded, the men involved paid dearly for their actions. This event provides a clear lens through which to examine racial identity, violence, masculinity, citizenship, modernity, and the construction of the Brazilian nation.

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Materialities of Ritual in the Black Atlantic

Edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders

Focusing on everyday rituals, the essays in this volume look at spheres of social action and the places throughout the Atlantic world where African–descended communities have expressed their values, ideas, beliefs, and spirituality in material terms. The contributors trace the impact of encounters with the Atlantic world on African cultural formation, how entanglement with commerce, commodification, and enslavement and with colonialism, emancipation, and self-rule manifested itself in the shaping of ritual acts such as those associated with birth, death, healing, and protection. Taken as a whole, the book offers new perspectives on what the materials of rituals can tell us about the intimate processes of cultural transformation and the dynamics of the human condition.

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Modernity, Freedom, and the African Diaspora

Dublin, New Orleans, Paris

Elisa Joy White

Elisa Joy White investigates the contemporary African Diaspora communities in Dublin, New Orleans, and Paris and their role in the interrogation of modernity and social progress. Beginning with an examination of Dublin's emergent African immigrant community, White shows how the community's negotiation of racism, immigration status, and xenophobia exemplifies the ways in which idealist representations of global societies are contradicted by the prevalence of racial, ethnic, and cultural conflicts within them. Through the consideration of three contemporaneous events–the deportations of Nigerians from Dublin, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the uprisings in the Paris suburbs–White reveals a shared quest for social progress in the face of stark retrogressive conditions.

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