17 March, 2016

Current Titles

Containing more than 15 publications, CAAR’s FORECAAST (Forum for European Contributrions to African American Studies) is one of the essential series of publications in European African American Studies. Find below some of the latest publications (a full list can be found here and here) and the announcements of some of the soon-to-come publications.

Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology (Edited by Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck) 2015

Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology explores the central but often critically neglected role of knowledge and epistemic formations within social movements for Black “freedom” and emancipation. The collection examines the structural subjugation and condemnation of Black African and Afro-mixed descent peoples globally within the past 500 years of trans-Atlantic societies of Western modernity, doing so in connection to the population’s dehumanization and/or invisibilization within various epistemic formations of the West. In turn, the collection foregrounds the extent to which the ending of this imposed subjugation/condemnation has necessarily entailed critiques of, challenges to, and counter-formulations against and beyond knowledge and epistemic formations that have worked to “naturalize” this condition within the West’s various socio-human formations.

The chapters in the collection engage primarily with knowledge formations and practices generated from within the discourse of “race,” but also doing so in relation to other intersectional socio-human discourses of Western modernity. They engage as well the critiques, challenges, and counter-formulations put forth by specific individuals, schools, movements, and/or institutions – historic and contemporary – of the Black world. Through these examinations, the contributors either implicitly point towards, or explicitly take part in, the formation of a new kind of critical – but also emancipatory – epistemology. What emerges is a novel and more comprehensive view of what it means to be human, a formulation that can aid in the unlocking and fashioning of species-oriented ways of “knowing” and “being” much-needed within the context of ending the continued overall global subjugation/condemnation of Black peoples, as a central part of ending the “global problematique” that confronts humankind as a whole.

Black_IntersectionalitiesBlack Intersectionalities: A Critique for the 21st Century (Monica Michlin, Jean-Paul Rocchi, Eds.), 2013.

This volume, our first with Liverpool University Press, explores the complex interrelationships between race, gender, and sex as these are conceptualised within contemporary thought. Markers of identity are too often isolated and presented as definitive, then examined and theorised, a process that further naturalises their absoluteness; thus socially generated constructs become socialising categories that assume coercive power. The resulting set of oppositions isolate and delimit: male or female, black or white, straight or gay. A new kind of intervention is needed, an intervention that recognises the validity of the researcher’s own self-reflexivity. Focusing on the way identity is both constructed and constructive, the collection examines the frameworks and practices that deny transgressive possibilities. It seeks to engage in a consciousness raising exercise that documents the damaging nature of assigned social positions and either/or identity constructions. It seeks to progress beyond the socially prescribed categories of race, gender and sex, recognising the need to combine intellectualization and feeling, rationality and affectivity, abstraction and emotion, consciousness and desire. It seeks to develop new types of transdisciplinary frameworks where subjective and political spaces can be universalized while remaining particular, leaving texts open so that identity remains imagined, plural, and continuously shifting. Such an approach restores the complexity of what it means to be human.

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Western Fictions, Black Realities – Meanings of Blackness and Modernities (Isabel Soto Garcia, Violet Johnson, Eds.), 2011.

This anthology interrogates two salient concepts in studying the black experience. Ushered in with the age of New World encounters, modernity emerged as brutal, complex and multiple, from its very definition to its manifestations. Equally challenging is blackness, which is forever dangling between the range of uplifting articulations and insidious degradation. The essays confront the conflicting confluences of these two terms. Questioning Euro-centric and “mainstream’” American interpretations, they reveal the diverse meanings of modernities and blackness from an equally diverse set of milieus of the black experience. Interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in thematic and epochal scope, they use theoretical and empirical studies to demonstrate that, indeed, blackness is relevant for understanding modernities and vice versa.

Blackness and Disability – Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions (Christopher M. Bell, Ed.), 2011.

Disability Studies has emerged as an incisive inquiry into body politics, intersectionality theory and cultural politics. While its theories have resulted in less stereotypical considerations of mainstream (read: white) disabled subjects, they have not had as profound an effect on black disabled subjects. Blackness and Disability examines how disability informs the experience and representation of racialized subjects. The collection of essays discusses disability in terms of literature, history, education, cultural studies and sociology in an effort to illuminate how disability informs black body politics.

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From Black To Schwarz – Cultural Crossovers between African America and Germany (Maria I. Diedrich, Jürgen Heinrichs, Eds.), 2010.From Black to Schwarz explores the long and varied history of the exchanges between African America and Germany with a particular focus on cultural interplay. Covering a wide range of media of expression – music, performance, film, scholarship, literature, visual arts, reviews – the essays collected in this volume trace and analyze a cultural interaction, collaboration and mutual transformation that began in the eighteenth century, literally boomed during the Harlem Renaissance/Weimar Republic, could not even be liquidated by the Third Reich’s `Degenerate Art’ campaigns, and, with new media available to further exchanges, is still increasingly empowering and inspiring participants on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Black/Gay: The Harlem Renaissance, the Protest Era, and Constructions of Black Gay Identity in the 1980s and 90s (Simon Dickel), 2010.

The study explores key texts constituting the black gay culture of the 1980s and 1990s. Starting with an analysis of the political discourse in anthologies such as In the Life and Brother to Brother, it identifies the references to the Harlem Renaissance and the Protest Era as a common element of black gay discourse. This connection to black cultural and political traditions legitimizes black gay identity and criticizes the normative construction of gay identity as white. Analyzing films and texts of different genres by Isaac Julien, Samuel R. Delany, Melvin Dixon, Randall Kenan, and Steven Corbin, the author demonstrates how this signifying-strategy is used in affirmative, humorous, and ironic ways.

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Loopholes and Retreats: African American Writers and the Nineteenth Century (John Cullen Gruesser, Hanna Wallinger, eds.), 2009

The essays in this volume, edited by John Cullen Gruesser and Hanna Wallinger, explore the loopholes and retreats employed and exploited by African American polemicists, poets, novelists, slave narrators, playwrights, short story writers, essayists, editors, educators, historians, clubwomen, and autobiographers during the nineteenth century. These exciting contributions use historicist, comparative, transnational, literary historical, cultural studies, and Foucauldian perspectives to examine how apparent weakness was turned into strength, defensiveness into offensiveness, and the machinery of oppression into the keys to liberation

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Complexions of Race – The African Atlantic (Fritz Gysin, Cynthia S. Hamilton, eds.), 2005

Complexions of Race: The African Atlantic reveals the ways in which conceptions of race have informed – and sometimes over-determined – readings of American experience. The first section is concerned with the geography of racial identity, with race, place, and with mapping. The second explores the way racial identities are constructed, reconstructed, or enforced through performance. The final section explores the way literary forms, generic constructions, linguistic strategies, and critical practices construct, re-construct, or reposition identities assigned or claimed on the basis of race.

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Crossing Boundaries – African American Inner City and European Migrant Youth (Maria I. Diedrich, Theron D. Cook, Flip Lindo, eds.), 2003

Upon walking U.S. inner-city streets you sooner or later come upon groups of black kids wearing prison-style outfits; there is a boom box, and rap music. And inevitably you will hear the N-word. Upon entering a district housing migrants in any European city you will encounter almost identical scenes – youngsters dressed in prison style, the boom box, rap. Only most of the kids are of a “white” or olive complexion. They call themselves “Wiggers”, “white Niggers” or “Black albinos.”

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Monuments of the Black Atlantic: Slavery and Memory (Joanne M. Braxton, Maria I. Diedrich, eds.), 2004.

With Aldon Nielson, the editors of this volume agree that “the middle passage may be the great repressed signifier of American historical consciousness.” The essays collected here illustrate that the repressed memory of crossing lives not only in the academy, in oral traditions, and in the stone walls of slave fortresses but in the liturgy as well as the spiritual and religious practices throughout the African Diaspora. Descendants of African slaves living in the wide Diaspora are bearers of an “unforgetful strength” that endures and endures, manifesting itself in every aspect of culture. Black writers, artists and musicians in the New World have tested the limits of cultural memory, finding in it the inspiration to “speak the unspeakable.”

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Intercultural Mediations – Hybridity and Mimesis in American Literatures (Ann Maria Manzanas, Jesús Benito

Intercultural Mediations proposes a study of the multiple crossings between and among the different literary traditions of the United States. The volume draws upon two main theoretical sources, namely postcolonial theory and American Border Studies, and aims to articulate a model of the hybrid, postcolonial and liminal nature of writing in the US. Ana Maria Manzanas and Jesús Benito explore the nature of the ethnic” Others’ appropriation, dialogization and Subversion of the Euroamerican authoritative discourse – embodied in what the authors call the Book of the West – as well as the inscription of cultural difference on the white page.

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Blackness and Sexualities (Michelle Wright, Antje Schuhmann, eds.), 2007

How queer is Black studies, how racialized is queer studies? In the West, racial fantasies are often sexualized, just as sexual fantasies often rely on notions of a racial Other. Bringing together the latest work by some of the foremost scholars in a variety of disciplines, Blackness and Sexualities offers analyses and critiques that span three continents and looks at topics such as: the secret marketing of black female pornography to white American men; the eroticization of colonial legacies in contemporary German media; the exoticization of African women in previously unpublished photos and diaries by America’s first best-selling black novelist; the ways in which film captures how drag queens can claim agency and cooperate with all kinds of sexual communities across racial lines-or fail to do so with terrible consequences.

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Critical Voices of Black Liberation – Resistance and Representations in the Americas (Kimberley L. Philips, Hermine D. Pinson, Lorenzo Thomas, Hanna Wallinger, eds.), 2003

The contributions to “Critical Voices of Black Liberation in the Americas” originated from the 1999 CAAR Conference in Münster and from conferences held in the US in 2000 and 2001. More than half of the eleven essays consider black performances on stage, in sound, and on film; the remaining essays explore slavery, African American literature, and nineteenth-century black educators. These exciting essays creatively examine artistic and/or political articulation of black liberation as the construction of a new critical and signifyin(g) voice. This liberated and critical voice asserts itself as much as a communal expression of black subjectivities as it is an articulation of the black self.