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African & African American Studies

This guide provides quick access to the best resources for conducting African & African American research.

New & Featured Print Books

Black Skin, White Masks

A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.

Human Rights in Africa: Contemporary Debates and Struggles

This edited collection explores key human rights themes and situates them in the context of developments on the African continent. It examines critical debates in human rights bringing together conceptually and empirically rich contributions from leading thinkers in human rights and African studies. Drawing on scholarly insights from the fields of constitutional law, human rights, development, feminist studies, public health, and media studies, the volume contributes to scholarly debates on constitutionalism, the right to water, securitization of development, environmental and transitional justice, sexual rights, conflict and gender-based violence, the right to development, and China's deepening role in Africa. Consequently, it makes an important scholarly intervention on timely issues pertaining to the African continent and beyond.

The New Jim Crow

Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it."

The Warmth of Other Suns

In this beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. 

Queer Times, Black Futures

Queer Times, Black Futures considers the promises and pitfalls of imagination, technology, futurity, and liberation as they have persisted in and through racial capitalism. Kara Keeling explores how the speculative fictions of cinema, music, and literature that center black existence provide scenarios wherein we might imagine alternative worlds, queer and otherwise. In doing so, Keeling offers a sustained meditation on contemporary investments in futurity, speculation, and technology, paying particular attention to their significance to queer and black freedom.

The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk is an impassioned, at times searing account of the situation of African Americans in the United States. Du Bois makes a forceful case for the access of African Americans to higher education, memorably extols the achievements of black culture (above all the spirituals or 'sorrow songs'), and advances the provocative and influential argument that due to the inequalities and pressures of the 'race problem', African American identity is characterized by 'double consciousness'.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides.

Branches Without Roots

The first comprehensive history of the transition from slavery to sharecropping, this major study draws on thousands of previously untapped sources and statistics to reconstruct the socioeconomic history of the antebellum plantation and the birth of the free black worker. Jaynes thoroughly reexamines the symbiotic nature of the sharecropping system for both planters and workers--how it offered planters a stable work force and offered workers relative freedom, a unified family, and payment for their labor--and analyzes the social and economic effects of sharecropping on the larger social structure. 

Escape from New York

In the midst of vast cultural and political shifts in the early twentieth century, politicians and cultural observers variously hailed and decried the rise of the "New Negro." This phenomenon was most clearly manifest in the United States through the outpouring of Black arts and letters and social commentary known as the Harlem Renaissance. What is less known is how far afield of Harlem that renaissance flourished--how much the New Negro movement was actually just one part of a collective explosion of political protest, cultural expression, and intellectual debate all over the world. In this volume, the Harlem Renaissance "escapes from New York" into its proper global context. 

Sharecropper's Troubadour

Folk singer and labor organizer John Handcox was born to illiterate sharecroppers, but went on to become one of the most beloved folk singers of the prewar labor movement. This beautifully told oral history gives us Handcox in his own words, recounting a journey that began in the Deep South and went on to shape the labor music tradition.

Jim Crow New York

In 1821, New York's political leaders met for over two months to rewrite the state's constitution. The new document secured the right to vote for the great mass of white men while denying all but the wealthiest African-American men access to the polls. Jim Crow New York introduces students and scholars alike to this watershed event in American political life. This action crystallized the paradoxes of free black citizenship, not only in the North but throughout the nation: African Americans living in New York would no longer be slaves. But would they be citizens?

Black Resonance

Focusing on two generations of artists from the 1920s to the 1970s, Black Resonance reveals a musical-literary tradition in which singers and writers, faced with similar challenges and harboring similar aims, developed comparable expressive techniques. Drawing together such seemingly disparate works as Bessie Smith's blues and Richard Wright's neglected film of Native Son, Mahalia Jackson's gospel music and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, each chapter pairs one writer with one singer to crystallize the artistic practice they share: lyricism, sincerity, understatement, haunting, and the creation of a signature voice. 

New & Featured eBooks

Navigating the African Diaspora

Investigating how the fraught political economy of migration impacts people around the world, Donald Martin Carter raises important issues about contemporary African diasporic movements. Developing the notion of the anthropology of invisibility, he explores the trope of navigation in social theory intent on understanding the lived experiences of transnational migrants.

Modernity, Freedom, and the African Diaspora

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. 

Digitalization and the Field of African Studies

rbanization in Africa also means rapid technological change. At the turn of the 21st century, mobile telephony appeared in urban Africa. Ten years later, it covered large parts of rural Africa and – thanks to the smartphone – became the main access to the internet. This development is part of technological transformations in digitalization that are supposed to bridge the urban and the rural and will make their borders blurred. They do so through the creation of economic opportunities, the flow of information and by influencing people's definition of self, belonging and citizenship. These changes are met with huge optimism and the message of Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) for Africa has been one of glory and revolution. Practice, however, reveals other sides. Increasingly, academic publications show that we are facing a new form of digital divide in which Africa is (again) at the margins. These technological transformations influence the relation between urban and rural Africa, and between ‘Africa'and the World, and hence the field of African Studies both in its objects as well as in its forms of knowledge production and in the formulation of the problems we should study.

Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

Women artists of the Harlem Renaissance dealt with issues that were unique to both their gender and their race. They experienced racial prejudice, which limited their ability to obtain training and to be taken seriously as working artists. They also encountered prevailing sexism, often an even more serious barrier.

African and American: West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America

Interrogating the complex role of post-colonialism in the recent history of black America, Marilyn Halter and Violet Showers Johnson highlight the intricate patterns of emigrant work and family adaptation, the evolving global ties with Africa and Europe, and the trans-local connections among the West African enclaves in the United States. Drawing on a rich variety of sources, including original interviews, personal narratives, cultural and historical analysis, and documentary and demographic evidence, African & American explores issues of cultural identity formation and socioeconomic incorporation among this new West African diaspora. 

African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity

Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S.

New Directions in the Study of African American Recolonization

This volume closely examines the movement to resettle black Americans in Africa, an effort led by the American Colonization Society during the nineteenth century and a heavily debated part of American history. Some believe it was inspired by antislavery principles, but others think it was a proslavery reaction against the presence of free blacks in society. Moving beyond this simplistic debate, contributors link the movement to other historical developments of the time, revealing a complex web of different schemes, ideologies, and activities behind the relocation of African Americans to Liberia. 

Slavery and Colonialism: Man's Inhumanity to Man for which Africans Must Demand Reparations

African historians documented the histories of their tribal people and have not investigated the role of slavery and colonialism in the shaping of the African personality; or how the two evils have in some way or other contributed to the slow economic growth of Africa. It is the belief of the author that reparations should be sought not to bring about economic development or to reduce dependence but redress wrongs the degradation, vandalism, terrorism and other inhuman treatment Africans have experienced nor is the demand racially motivated. The demand is for indemnity for inhuman acts committed against African people and is made in the belief that the international community will accept the reality of slave trade and later, imperialism and colonialism are crimes against humanity.

A Companion to Modern African Art

Offering a wealth of perspectives on African modern and Modernist art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, this new Companion features essays by African, European, and North American authors who assess the work of individual artists as well as exploring broader themes such as discoveries of new technologies and globalization. A pioneering continent-based assessment of modern art and modernity across Africa Includes original and previously unpublished fieldwork-based material Features new and complex theoretical arguments about the nature of modernity and Modernism Addresses a widely acknowledged gap in the literature on African Art