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Black Studies


This interdisciplinary guide has been compiled to enable the discovery of Black scholarship in the collections of UCL Libraries, including both print and digital resources, and we welcome your input to help us develop it further. If you have any suggestions for content or general feedback please let us know by filling in the form via the 'Help improve this guide' button on the left hand side of this page. We especially welcome resource recommendations from those studying in Science-based disciplines.


Three friends, William H. Johnson, ca. 1944-45This guide focuses on interdisciplinary sources originating from authors / creators of African and African-Caribbean descent, with additional reference to topics relevant to the Black Diaspora. See also our guide to Studies of the Americas for literature originating from and relating specifically to Latin America. 

This guide also includes advice on techniques for searching our catalogues and databases to find literature on topics of particular relevance to Black Studies and by Black authors in books and journals as well as films, images and other primary source material.

For further advice relating to resources in your subject area please contact your specialist Librarian via our Subject Guides.

We welcome suggestions for new acquisitions that contribute to the diversification of our collections.

Image: Three friends, William H. Johnson, ca.1944-56. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

New books

Scripting Empire: broadcasting, the BBC, and the Black Atlantic /

Scripting Empire recovers the literary and cultural history of West Indian and West African writing at the BBC in order to rethink the critical mid-century decades of shrinking British sovereignty, late modernism, and mass migration to the metropole. Between the 1930s and the 1960s, a remarkable group of black Atlantic artists and intellectuals became producers, editors, and freelancers at the corporation, including Una Marson, Langston Hughes, Louise Bennett, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Amos Tutuola, V.S. Naipaul, Sam Selvon, Cyprian Ekwensi, Stuart Hall, and C.L.R. James. Operating at the interface of a range of literary and broadcast genres, this loose network of African Caribbean writers and thinkers prompt a reassessment of the aesthetic, formal, and political fallout of decolonization between the outbreak of World War II and the first airings of post-colonial independence.

The Conscious Cultural Worker: counter-narratives of Black women artivists as radical educators

The Conscious Cultural Worker: Counter-Narratives of Black Women Artivists as Radical Educators uses narrative inquiry and Black feminist and womanist pedagogy to look at the teaching identities and lived experiences of Black women artivist educators in the current neoliberal anti-woke moment. Their counter-narratives are presented as vignettes to look at a certain time in the lives of Black women artists who use rap, spoken word, or visual art to turn public places like bars, clubs, galleries, lounges, and alleys into unofficial educational spaces that the author calls "Communities of Reciprocity" (CoR).

The Image of the Black in Latin American and Caribbean Art, Book 2

The Image of the Black in Latin American and Caribbean Art is the first comprehensive survey of the visual representation of people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, some twelve million of whom were forcibly imported into the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade. This second volume explores the period from the final abolition of slavery in Brazil and Cuba in the nineteenth century through the independence of the Caribbean islands to the present day. The images and essays here reveal the damaging legacy of colonialism and slavery and the vigorous efforts of Afrodescendant artists to assert their identity in the face of prejudice and denial.

Any Day Now: Toward a Black Aesthetic

A comprehensive and inspiring collection of essays by Larry Neal, a founder of the seminal Black Arts Movement. "The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America." - Larry Neal Growing up in Philadelphia, Neal was surrounded by Bebop music and writing. He culled inspiration and teachings from Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. After studying folklore at the University of Pennsylvania, Neal became a prolific poet and critic, and he served as the arts editor for the Liberator where he published many of his essays about art. Neal encouraged artists to produce work that was not only politically engaged but also unapologetically rooted in the Black experience, and this message reverberated through African American literature, theater, music, and visual arts.

Reframing the Black Figure: an introduction to contemporary Black figuration

'What happens when Black artists depict Black figures? What art does this produce, and what worlds of possibility does this reveal?' - Ekow Eshun Reframing the Black Figure showcases more than 20 of the most important Black figurative artists working in the UK and US today. This visual giftbook introduces readers to the field of Black figuration by highlighting a selection of key works from the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure. Readers will encounter contemporary Black artists producing beautiful, urgent artworks that presents the Black form with nuance and depth. Richly illustrated with artworks and visual details, alongside short biographies for all featured artists, this accessible publication offers an opportunity for readers to experience some of the most exciting artworks depicting the Black form. Within this context, they take on a dual role, as the accomplished work of individual artists on the one hand, and as a collective assertion of Black presence on the other.

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism

A groundbreaking volume resituating the Harlem Renaissance as integral to the development of twentieth-century modernism   Beginning in the 1920s, Upper Manhattan became the center of an explosion of art, writing, and ideas that has since become legendary. But what we now know as the Harlem Renaissance, the first movement of international modern art led by African Americans, extended far beyond New York City. This volume reexamines the Harlem Renaissance as part of a global flowering of Black creativity, with roots in the New Negro theories and aesthetics of Alain Locke, its founding philosopher, as well as the writings of W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. Featuring artists such as Aaron Douglas, Charles Henry Alston, Augusta Savage, and William H. Johnson, who synthesized the expressive figuration of the European avant-garde with the aesthetics of African sculpture and folk art to render all aspects of African American city life, this publication also includes works by lesser-known contributors, including Laura Wheeler Waring and Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr., who took a more classical approach to depicting Black subjects with dignity, interiority, and gravitas.

Africa: the definitive visual history of a continent

Immerse yourself in Africa's vast and intricate story and discover Africa's true place in world history. Spanning more than 200,000 years, from the emergence of the first humans to the rise of megacities, Africa explores the history and cultures of the world's second-largest continent in vivid detail. It brings to life the stories that shaped Africa and the world around it, from powerful and influential empires and kingdoms such as Mali and Benin, through the struggle against colonization and the fight for independence to Africa's place on the global stage today.

The Black Scholar Travelogue in Academia

This book draws inspiration from the author''s own scholarship on race, anti-Blackness, Indigeneity, and anti-colonial studies to offer the personal travelogue of a Black scholar in academia. The author reflects on how he came to a critical consciousness about critical issues of race, anti-Black racism, and anti-colonial studies in the 1980s. The intersecting theme of Black scholars'' responsibility for advancing a path of Blackcentricity wedded in Black and African Indigeneities to address global anti-Black racism and anti-Blackness is an important intellectual pursuit. In the struggle for true liberation, our work for social justice, equity, decolonization, and the anti-colonial end is only possible if we embrace critical solidarity through Indigenous resistance and community building. We must all be part of an on-going struggle; those of us with the privilege of being familiar with history have a responsibility to mentor and be mentored by our young colleagues as a nurturing of the power of knowledge.

Contextualising African Studies: challenges and the way forward

In uncertain times, the focus on advanced economies overshadows the often-overlooked contributions of African economies. However, it is crucial not to underestimate Africa's paramount importance in the global economy. With a diverse economy shaped by historical, social, and cultural changes, Africa offers a rich and compelling narrative. Presenting ten exciting chapters delving into the socio-cultural aspects of African contexts and their profound impact on regional, national, and international business, Contextualising African Studies lays the foundation for a comprehensive exploration of Africa's business landscape. Examining contemporary issues, the authors shed new light on the intricate relationship between businesses, societies, and economics across various African societies.

HBCU: the power of historically Black colleges and universities

Showcases the role HBCUs play in empowering Black students, fostering economic development, building community, and mentoring leaders and activists. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a pivotal role in promoting social and economic mobility for African Americans and in mentoring the next generation of Black leaders. In HBCU, Marybeth Gasman and Levon T. Esters explore the remarkable impact and contributions of these significant institutions. Through inspiring personal stories and extensive research, Gasman and Esters showcase how HBCUs have mentored generations of leaders and scholars, fostering a collaborative culture of success and empowerment. These schools shape and propel Black students into leadership and intellectual roles where they have a major impact on medicine, literature, law, higher education, art, sports, and business.

The Time Is Always Now

The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure edited by Ekow Eshun celebrates flourishing Black artists whose work illuminates the richness, beauty and complexity of Black life. The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure assembles contemporary African diasporic artists working in the UK and US whose practice foregrounds the Black figure. Edited and with texts by Ekow Eshun, and original essays by Bernardine Evaristo, Esi Edugyan and Dorothy Price. Published to coincide with the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, this publication explores and celebrates contemporary Black artists internationally who work within Black figuration.

Surrealism and Us: Caribbean and African Diasporic Artists Since 1940

On the centennial anniversary of André Breton's first Surrealist Manifesto, Surrealism and Us shines new light on how Surrealism was consumed and transformed in the Caribbean and the United States. It brings together more than 50 works from the 1940s to the present that convey how Caribbean and African diasporic artists reclaimed a European avant-garde for their own purposes. Since its inception, the Surrealist movement--and many other European art movements of the early 20th century--embraced and transformed African art, poetry and music traditions. Concurrently, artists in the Americas proposed subsets of Surrealism more closely tied to African diasporic culture. In Martinique, Aimé and Suzanne Césaire proposed a Caribbean Surrealism that challenged principles of order and reason and embraced African spiritualities. Meanwhile, artists in the United States such as Romare Bearden and Ted Joans engaged deeply with Surrealist ideas. These trends lasted far beyond those of their European counterparts. Indeed, the term "Afro-surrealism" was created by poet Amiri Baraka in 1974; today the movement still flourishes in tandem with Afrofuturism.

The Debate on Black Civil Rights in America

This book examines the historiography of the African American freedom struggle from the 1890s to the present. It considers how, and why, the study of African American history developed from being a marginalized subject in American universities and colleges at the start of the twentieth century to become one of the most extensively researched fields in American history today. There is analysis of the changing scholarly interpretations of African American leaders from Booker T. Washington through to Barack Obama. The impact and significance of the leading civil rights organizations are assessed, as well as the white segregationists who opposed them and the civil rights policies of presidential administrations from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump. The civil rights struggle is also discussed in the context of wider, political, social and economic changes in the United States and developments in popular culture.

Shining lights : Black women photographers in 1980s-'90s Britain

Shining Lights is the first critical anthology to bring together the ground-breaking work of Black women photographers active in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s, providing a richly illustrated overview of a signif-icant and overlooked chapter of photographic history. Seen through the lens of Britain?s sociopolitical and cultural contexts, the publication draws on both lived experience and historical investigation to explore the communities, experiments, collaborations, and complexities that defined the decades. The innovative and diverse work created during this period spanned documentary and conceptual practices, including the experimental use of photomontage, self-portraiture, staged imagery, and photography in dialogue with other media.

Screen deep : how film and TV can solve racism and save the world

Screen Deep is a book about the immense potential of screen storytelling to defeat an evil both historic and urgently topical: racism. Everyone watches TV and movies. Everyone has an interest in building a more just and equitable world. Screen Deep goes beyond the many film books and anti-racist manuals by demonstrating the connection between these two aspects of modern life.

Barkley L. Hendricks

American artist Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017) revolutionized contemporary portraiture with his vivid depictions of Black subjects beginning in the late 1960s. This book contextualizes Hendricks's portraits at different stages of the country's history and places him in the pantheon of innovative twentieth-century artists. Hendricks developed his signature style at a time of significant social and cultural change in the United States, especially with regard to Black artists, and amid a perceived bifurcation between abstraction and representation. He produced portraits from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Black Networks Matter

Scholars have long recognized that interpersonal networks play a role in mobilizing social movements. Yet, many questions remain. This Element addresses these questions by theorizing about three dimensions of ties: emotionally strong or weak, movement insider or outsider, and ingroup or cross-cleavage. The survey data on the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests show that weak and cross-cleavage ties among outsiders enabled the movement to evolve from a small provocation into a massive national mobilization. In particular, the authors find that Black people mobilized one another through social media and spurred their non-Black friends to protest by sharing their personal encounters with racism. These results depart from the established literature regarding the civil rights movement that emphasizes strong, movement-internal, and racially homogenous ties. The networks that mobilize appear to have changed in the social media era.

Revolutionary Poetics: the Rhetoric of the Black Arts Movement

In Revolutionary Poetics, Sarah RudeWalker details the specific ways that the Black Arts Movement (BAM) achieved its revolutionary goals through rhetorical poetics-in what forms, to what audiences, and to what effect. BAM has had far-reaching influence, particularly in developments in positive conceptions of Blackness, in the valorization of Black language practices and its subsequent effects on educational policy, in establishing a legacy of populist dissemination of African American vernacular culture, and in setting the groundwork for important considerations of the aesthetic intersections of race with gender and sexuality. These legacies stand as the movement's primary-and largely unacknowledged-successes, and they provide significant lessons for navigating our current political moment.

The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary African American Literature

African American literature has changed in startling ways since the end of the Black Arts Era. The last five decades have generated new paradigms of racial formation and novel patterns of cultural production, circulation, and reception. This volume takes up the challenge of mapping the varied and changing field of contemporary African American writing. Balancing the demands of historical and political context with attention to aesthetic innovation, it considers the history, practice, and future directions of the field. Examining various historical forces shaping the creation of innovative genres, the turn to the afterlife of slavery, the pull toward protest, and the impact of new and expanded geographies and methods, this Companion provides an invaluable point of reference for readers seeking rigorous and cutting-edge analyses of contemporary African American literature.

Now You See Me: An Introduction To 100 Years Of Black Design

You've seen their work--but have you seen them? Black designers have been working in every major industry but, for the past decades, have not been given the spotlight anywhere near to the extent of their white counterparts. This vibrant and wide-ranging book, full of photographs and illustrations, aims to correct that oversight, bringing a century of Black designers and their work into focus.Organized into three sections focusing on Fashion, Architecture and Graphic Design, Prempeh uses the pioneering work of key figures from the twentieth and twenty-first century to explore important aspects of how Black design has been perceived within culture and society. From the necessity of the sidehustle, to interrogating the value placed on Black design, from reclaiming traditions, to exploring how design can be a form of protest, this book brings to the fore the stories of figures such as Ann Lowe, Dapper Dan, Norma Sklarek, Francis Kéré, Emory Douglas and Liz Montague to unpick what it means to be a Black designer.

Forecast Form: art in the Caribbean diaspora, 1990s-today

Caribbean art as a diasporic, fugitive phenomenon: a groundbreaking global survey The 1990s were a period of profound political transformation, from the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc to the rise of trade agreements that continue to influence the world we live in today. Emerging from this pivotal decade--which also shaped the production, circulation and framing of art in the Caribbean--Forecast Form traces a path into the present, highlighting forms, materials and processes that reveal new modes of thinking about identity and place. This volume features scholarly essays alongside richly illustrated plate sections and texts focused on an intergenerational group of 37 artists working across the Americas and Europe. A radical rethinking of contemporary art in the Caribbean, Forecast Form reveals the region as a place where the past, the present and the future meet--where continuous exchanges forecast what is to come while remaining grounded in the histories that shape the present.

Decolonizing African Studies Pedagogies

Despite the long history of decolonization as a 'third world' political project, decolonization as an intellectual project has gained tremendous momentum in recent times, signalled by movements such as #RhodesMustFall, #BlackInTheIvory, and Why Is My Curricula So White among others. These movements situate the coloniality of power within ongoing practices in academia and seek to disrupt systemic racism and oppressive structures of knowledge production and dissemination. Assembling critical perspectives of scholars engaged in African Studies and other cognate disciplines on the continent and in the diaspora, the book elucidates and fuses ideas together to produce nuanced pedagogical advances in the service of students, academics, and educators.

Multiplicity: Blackness in contemporary American collage

An engaging introduction to contemporary Black American collage brings together art by fifty artists that reflects the breadth and complexity of Black identity   Building on a technique that has roots in European and American traditions, Black artists have turned to collage as a way to convey how the intersecting facets of their lives combine to make whole individuals. Artists have assembled pieces of paper, fabrics, and other, often salvaged, materials to create unified compositions that express the endless possibilities of Black-constructed narratives despite the fragmentation of our times.   As artist Deborah Roberts asserts, "With collage, I can create a more expansive and inclusive view of the Black cultural experience."   More than 50 artists are represented in the book's 140 color images, with some creating original artworks for this project.

Spike Lee: Director's Inspiration

An inspirational trove of film posters and ephemera, photographs, artwork and more from the collection of Spike Lee For nearly four decades, Spike Lee has made movies that demand our attention. His extensive filmography reflects an unflinching critique of race relations in the United States, from the Student Academy Award(R)-winning short Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads and the ever-relevant Do the Right Thing to the more recent Oscar(R)-winning BlacKkKlansman and Da 5 Bloods. A lifelong cinephile and film scholar, Lee draws inspiration from other artists working across a range of eras, genres and global cinemas.

Photography: race, rights, and representation

Following the highly influential Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time, this collection of essays, interviews and reflections gives new depth to Mark Sealy’s work challenging the legacies of colonial Othering in photography over a quarter of a century.
Weaving together analyses of work by Black photographers in the UK and internationally, interviews with key figures and personal reflections on the changing landscape of Black photography, this book offers an exploration of the past, present and future of decolonial visual practices. Sealy marks out a new path for photography – jazz-like, sensorial and experimental – in order to free it from the classifying colonial lens, offering the reader the opportunity to move both conceptually and spiritually into new visual realms when reading an image.

An Anthology of Blackness

An adventurous collection that examines how the design field has consistently failed to attract and support Black professionals--and how to create an anti-racist, pro-Black design industry instead. An Anthology of Blackness examines the intersection of Black identity and practice, probing why the design field has failed to attract Black professionals, how Eurocentric hegemony impacts Black professionals, and how Black designers can create an anti-racist design industry. Contributing authors and creators demonstrate how to develop a pro-Black design practice of inclusivity, including Black representation in designed media, anti-racist pedagogy, and radical self-care. Through autoethnography, lived experience, scholarship, and applied research, these contributors share proven methods for creating an anti-racist and inclusive design practice.

Decolonisation, Anti-Racism, and Legal Pedagogy

This book offers an international breadth of historical and theoretical insights into recent efforts to 'decolonise' legal education across the world. With a specific focus on post/decolonial thought and anti-racist methods in pedagogy, this edited collection provides an accessible illustration of pedagogical innovation in teaching and learning law. Chapters cover civil and common law legal systems, incorporate cases from non-state Indigenous legal systems, and critically examine key topics such as decolonization and anti-racism in criminology, colonialism and the British Empire, and court process and indigenous justice.

Black, quare, and then to where : theories of justice and Black sexual ethics

jennifer susanne leath explores the relationship between Afrodiasporic theories of justice and Black sexual ethics through a womanist engagement with Ma’at—the ancient Egyptian deity of justice and truth.

Solutions for Anti-Black Misandry, Flat Blackness, and Black Male Death

This book deconstructs stereotypes about Black men through the exploration of their vulnerability, drawing attention to their demographic-specific issues and needs that are so rarely articulated. Since the Black Power era, many Black men have responded with a Black identity affirming sensibility that sought to advance the cause of Black people. However, Black males have a need for race and gender-specific vocabulary that explains their experience with specificity, including concepts such as Black Masculinism, anti-Black misandry, and Black Andromortality, which seek to explain the experiences of Black males from the context of their lived experiences.

Speak Out!

The first ever collection of writing from the Brixton Black Women's Group, one of the first and most important black radical organisations of the 1970s "We came to Britain in search of better opportunities or to get some of the wealth which had been misappropriated from the Caribbean, but what in reality did we find? Speak Out brings together the writings of Brixton Black Women's Group for the first time, in a landmark collection.

Called to the Camera

A timely reconsideration of the history of photography that places Black studio photographers, and their subjects, at the center From photography's beginnings in the United States, Black studio photographers operated on the developing edge of popular media to produce affirming portraits for their clients, as well as a wide range of photographic work rooted in their communities. Called to the Camera offers a comprehensive history of this work, from the nineteenth-century daguerreotypes of James Presley Ball to the height of Black studios in the mid-twentieth century, and considers contemporary photographers responding to Black studio traditions today.

Carrie Mae Weems: Hasselblad Award 2023

This richly illustrated catalogue celebrates the 2023 Hasselblad Award winner, by highlighting a number of prominent works, including 'Family Pictures and Stories' (1978-84), 'Kitchen Table Series' (1990), and 'From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried' (1995-96).With an intersectional approach to history and politics, Weems digs deep into photography's multiple roles in the representation of race, gender, and class.Published on occasion of the exhibition 'Carrie Mae Weems: Hasselblad Award Winner 2023', 14 Oct 2023 - 21 Jan 2024, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg.

Part of a story that started before me

Taking readers on a thought-provoking poetical journey through Black British history, the anthology brings together some of the most exciting wordsmiths from across the diaspora and fascinating era-by-era notes from historian Dr Christienna Fryar. From Africans in Roman Britannia to the first Black actor to play Othello on stage, from Malcolm X's visit to the West Midlands to highlighting an organizer of the UK's first Gay Pride, this important collection reveals unsun people and events from our past to recognize the intrinsic impact they've had on Britain today.

Red Africa

Red Africa makes the case for a revolutionary Black politics inspired by Marxist anti-colonial struggles in Africa. Kevin Ochieng Okoth revisits historical moments when Black radicalism was defined by international solidarity in the struggle against capitalist-imperialism, that together help us to navigate the complex histories of the Black radical tradition. He challenges common misconceptions about national liberation, showing that the horizon of national liberation was not limited to the nation-building projects of post-independence governments. While African socialists sought to distance themselves from Marxism and argued for a 'third way' socialism rooted in 'traditional African culture' the intellectual and political tradition Okoth calls 'Red Africa' showed that Marxism and Black radicalism were never incompatible.

The Market Photo Workshop in South Africa and the 'Born Free' Generation

This study presents the history of the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) in Johannesburg and works produced by its new generation of photography students. Founded in 1989 by internationally renowned documentary photographer David Goldblatt, the MPW has reflected upon South African political struggles and sociocultural changes since its creation. Its foundation parallels a moment in time when photography was considered a 'truth telling' genre and an essential source of documents deployed against the apartheid regime.

Black Modernisms in the Transatlantic World

Illustrated essays that broaden our understanding of modernism by centering Black artists and experiences, with a contribution featuring the work of Venice Biennale Golden Lion winner Simone Leigh. In this volume, ten leading scholars examine the contradictions of modernity and Black agency that continue to define the Western art world. Illustrated essays explore the work of artists such as Roy DeCarava, Ben Enwonwu, James Hampton, Norman Lewis, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Augusta Savage, and Carrie Mae Weems, always with an eye toward reframing our understanding of Black artistic producers.

The Radical Imagination of Black Women

Historically, many Black women have viewed political participation as a means to achieve full equality and improve their status in US society. To this end, Black women have long engaged in politics through activism, voting, mobilization, and seeking office. Since 2016 the number of women, particularly Black women, seeking office has increased dramatically. Including interviews with Black women holding political office at the national, state, and local levels, as well as focus group data, The Radical Imagination of Black Women challenges political science's current approach to political ambition by exploring how Black women decide to seek political office.

The Black Geographic

The contributors to The Black Geographic explore the theoretical innovations of Black Geographies scholarship and how it approaches Blackness as historically and spatially situated. In studies that span from Oakland to the Alabama Black Belt to Senegal to Brazil, the contributors draw on ethnography, archival records, digital humanities, literary criticism, and art to show how understanding the spatial dimensions of Black life contributes to a broader understanding of race and space. They examine key sites of inquiry: Black spatial imaginaries, resistance to racial violence, the geographies of racial capitalism, and struggles over urban space.

Which Lives Matter?

This Element attributes this pattern to the fact that mobilization around officer-involved killings is shaped by anti-Black discrimination, rather than general sentiments about police violence. It also finds that the local density of social justice organizations increases political mobilization.

Washington State Rising

Washington State Rising documents the origins, actions, and impact of the Black Student Union (BSU) in Washington from 1967 to 1970. The BSU was a politicized student organization that had chapters across the West Coast and played a prominent role in the student wing of the Black Power Movement. Through accounts of Black student struggles at two different college campuses in Washington, one urban and one rural, Marc Arsell Robinson details how the BSU led highly consequential protest campaigns at both institutions and beyond, which led to reforms such as the establishment of Black Studies programs, increased hiring of Black faculty and staff, and new initiatives to recruit and retain students of color.

A World in Common

A celebration of the visual and cultural landscape of contemporary African photography, this stunning exhibition book offers critical insight from the perspectives of Africa's leading artists and thinkers. Since the invention of photography in the 19th century, Africa has been defined largely by Western images of its cultures and traditions. From the colonial carte de visite and ethnographic archive to the rise of studio portraiture and social documents of racial surveillance, the fraught relationship between Africa and the photographic lens has become inseparable from the discourses of postcolonialism. Challenging these dominant images of exoticism and otherness, this book illustrates how photography has allowed artists to reimagine African histories through the lens of the present, to shape our understanding of the contemporary realities we face.

The Art Market and the Global South

This book examines the art markets of the Global South while questioning, based on the heterogeneity of the selected contributions, the very idea of its existence in the context of the global art market. Gathering new research by recognized scholars, you will discover different markets from the so-called Global South, their structure, the external determinants affecting their behavior, their role in the art system's development, and how they articulate with other agents at the local, regional, and international level. In this publication, an important wealth of research on various African countries stands out, providing an unprecedented overview of the markets in that region.

Black Boys: The Aesthetics of British Urban Film

In Black Boys: The Aesthetics of British Urban Film, Nwonka offers the first dedicated analysis of Black British urban cinematic and televisual representation as a textual encounter with Blackness, masculinity and urban identity where the generic construction of images and narratives of Black urbanity is informed by the (un)knowable allure of Black urban Otherness. Foregrounding the textual Black urban identity as a historical formation, and drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks that allow for an examination of the emergence and continued social, cultural and industrial investment in the fictitious and non-fictitious images of Black urban identities and geographies, Nwonka convenes a dialogue between the disciplines of Film and Television Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Black Studies, Sociology and Criminology.

Black Women and the Changing Television Landscape

Black women's work in television has been, since the beginning, a negotiation. Black Women and the Changing Television Landscape explores the steps black women, as actors, directors, and producers, have taken to improve representations of black people on the small screen. Beginning with The Beulah Show, Anderson articulates the interrelationship between US culture and the televisual, demonstrating the conditions under which black women particularly, and black people generally, exist in popular culture.


Madgermanes is what the Mozambican workers once contracted out to East Germany are called today. At the end of the 1970s, some 20,000 of them were sent from the People's Republic of Mozambique to the GDR to labour for their socialist sister country. After the Berlin Wall fell, almost all of them lost their residency status. Decades later, they are still waiting for most of their wages to be paid.

Congo Style

Congo Style presents a postcolonial approach to discussing the visual culture of two now-notorious regimes: King Leopold II's Congo Colony and the state sites of Mobutu Sese Seko's totalitarian Zaïre. Readers are brought into the living remains of sites once made up of ambitious modernist architecture and art in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. From the total artworks of Art Nouveau to the aggrandizing sites of post-independence Kinshasa, Congo Style investigates the experiential qualities of man-made environments intended to entertain, delight, seduce, and impress.

Racing the Great White Way

The early drama of Eugene O'Neill, with its emphasis on racial themes and conflicts, opened up extraordinary opportunities for Black performers to challenge racist structures in modern theater and cinema. By adapting O'Neill's dramatic writing--changing scripts to omit offensive epithets, inserting African American music and dance, or including citations of Black internationalism--theater artists of color have used O'Neill's texts to raze barriers in American and transatlantic theater. Challenging the widely accepted idea that Broadway was the white-hot creative engine of U.S. theater during the early 20th century, author Katie N. Johnson reveals a far more complex system of exchanges between the Broadway establishment and a vibrant Black theater scene in New York and beyond to chart a new history of American and transnational theater.

The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre

This new edition provides an expanded, comprehensive history of African American theatre, from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Including discussions of slave rebellions on the national stage, African Americans on Broadway, the Harlem Renaissance, African American women dramatists, and the New Negro and Black Arts movements, the Companion also features fresh chapters on significant contemporary developments, such as the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the mainstream successes of Black Queer Drama and the evolution of African American Dance Theatre.

Environmental Knowledge, Race, and African American Literature

This open access book suggests new ways of reading nineteenth-century African American literature environmentally. Combining insights from ecocriticism, African American studies, and Foucauldian theory, Matthias Klestil examines forms of environmental knowledge in African American writing ranging from antebellum slave narratives and pamphlets to Charlotte Fortens journals, Booker T. Washingtons autobiographies, and Charles W. Chesnutts short fiction.


This abundantly illustrated book examines the figure of Balthazar, one of the biblical magi, and explains how and why he came to be depicted as a Black African king. According to the Gospel of Matthew, magi from the East, following a star, traveled to Jerusalem bearing precious gifts for the infant Jesus. The magi were revered as wise men and later as kings. Over time, one of the three came to be known as Balthazar and to be depicted as a Black man. Balthazar was familiar to medieval Europeans, appearing in paintings, manuscript illuminations, mosaics, carved ivories, and jewelry.

The Geometries of Afro Asia

A groundbreaking method for writing art history, using the language of geometry. How do we embark on a history of art from the assumption of a global majority, outside of essentializing categories like race or hollow proclamations of solidarity? With this book, Joan Kee presents a framework for understanding the rich and surprisingly understudied relationship between Black and Asian artists and the worlds they initiate through their work.

Rediscovering Black Portraiture

Join Peter Brathwaite on an extraordinary journey through representations of Black subjects in Western art, from medieval Europe through the present day. "These mirror images with their uncanny resemblances traverse space and time, spotlighting the black lives that have been silenced by the canon of western art, while also inviting us to interrogate the present." --Times (UK)

'Race Is Everything'

A timely and revealing look at the intertwined histories of science, art, and racism. 'Race Is Everything' explores the spurious but influential ideas of so-called racial science in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, and how art was affected by it. David Bindman looks at race in general, but with particular concentration on attitudes toward and representations of people of African and Jewish descent.

Black Ivy: a Revolt in Style

Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style charts a period in American history when black men across the country adopted the clothing of a privileged elite and made it their own. From the most avant-garde jazz musicians, visual artists and poets to the most unassuming architects, philosophers and writers, Black Ivy looks at how a generation of men took the classic Ivy Look and made it cool, edgy and unpredictable in ways that continue to influence today's modern menswear.

Beauty Born of Struggle

A collection of illustrated essays highlights the works of influential Black artists from Washington, DC, from the 1920s to the present. In a twentieth century during which modern art largely abandoned beauty as its imperative, a group of Black artists from Washington, DC, made beauty the center of their art making. This book highlights these influential artists, including David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, and Alma Thomas, in the context of what Jeffrey C. Stewart describes as the Washington Black Renaissance.

African and Caribbean People in Britain

Despite the best efforts of researchers and campaigners, there remains today a steadfast tendency to reduce the history of African and Caribbean people in Britain to a simple story- it is one that begins in 1948 with the arrival of a single ship, the Empire Windrush, and continues mostly apart from a distinct British history, overlapping only on occasion amid grotesque injustice or pioneering protest. Yet, as acclaimed historian Hakim Adi demonstrates, from the very beginning, from the moment humans first stood on this rainy isle, there have been African and Caribbean men and women set at Britain's heart.

Mapping Black Europe

Black communities have been making major contributions to Europe's social and cultural life and landscapes for centuries. However, their achievements largely remain unrecognized by the dominant societies, as their perspectives are excluded from traditional modes of marking public memory. For the first time in European history, leading Black scholars and activists examine this issue - with first-hand knowledge of the eight European capitals in which they live.

The Love Jones Cohort

Drawing from stratification economics, intersectionality, and respectability politics, The Love Jones Cohort centers on the voices and lifestyles of members of the Black middle class who are single and living alone (SALA). While much has been written about both the Black middle class and the rise of singlehood, this book represents a first foray into bridging these two concepts.

Repairing Play

A provocative study that reconsiders our notion of play-and how its deceptively wholesome image has harmed and erased people of color. Contemporary theorists present play as something wholly constructive and positive. But this broken definition is drawn from a White European philosophical tradition that ignores the fact that play can, and often does, hurt. In fact, this narrow understanding of play has been complicit in the systemic erasure of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) from the domain of leisure. In this book, Aaron Trammell proposes a corrective a radical reconsideration of play that expands its definition to include BIPOC suffering, subjugation, and taboo topics such as torture.

A Site of Struggle

An important examination of how artists have grappled with anti-Black violence and its representations from the late nineteenth century to the present. From the horrors of slavery and lynching to the violent suppression of civil rights struggles and recent acts of police brutality, targeted violence of Black lives has been an ever-present fact in American history. Images of African American suffering and death have constituted an enduring part of the nation's cultural landscape, and the development of creative counterpoints to these images has been an ongoing concern for American artists. A Site of Struggle highlights diverse works of art and ephemera from the post-Reconstruction period of the late nineteenth century to the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues

An investigation into Saar's lifelong interest in Black dolls, with new watercolors, historic assemblages, sketchbooks and a selection of Black dolls from the artist's collection. This volume features new watercolor works on paper and assemblages by Betye Saar (born 1926) that incorporate the artist's personal collection of Black dolls. These watercolors showcase the artist's experimentation with vivid color and layered techniques, and her new interest in flat shapes.

At Risk

Jennifer Griffiths's At Risk: Black Youth and the Creative Imperative in the Post-Civil Rights Era focuses on literary representations of adolescent artists as they develop strategies to intervene against the stereotypes that threaten to limit their horizons. The authors of the analyzed works capture and convey the complex experience of the generation of young people growing up in the era after the civil rights movement.

Fashioning the Afropolis

With a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, Fashioning the Afropolis provides a range of innovative perspectives on global fashion, design, dress, photography, and the body in some of the major cities, with a focus on Lagos, Johannesburg, Dakar, and Douala. It contributes to the ongoing debates around the globalization of fashion and fashion theory by exploring fashion as a genuine urban phenomenon on the continent and among its diasporas.

Against Decolonisation

Decolonization has lost its way. Originally a struggle to escape the West's direct political and economic control, it has become a catch-all idea, often for performing "morality" or "authenticity;" it suffocates African thought and denies African agency. Olufemi Taiwo fiercely rejects the indiscriminate application of 'decolonization' to everything from literature, language and philosophy to sociology, psychology and medicine. He argues that the decolonization industry, obsessed with cataloguing wrongs, is seriously harming scholarship on and in Africa.

The Voice

Launched at the 1982 Notting Hill Carnival, The Voice newspaper captured and addressed a generation figuring out what it meant to be Black and British. Written for and by Black people, the newspaper shone a light on systematic injustices as well as celebrating Black Britain's success stories. From hard hitting news reports covering the murder of Stephen Lawrence to championing the likes of Sir Lewis Hamilton and Idris Elba, the newspaper has campaigned, celebrated and educated people for the last forty years.

Not So Black and White

Is white privilege real? Does American history begin in 1619 or 1776? Why has left-wing antisemitism grown? How racist is the working class? Who benefits most, when anti-racists speak in racial terms? These very different questions have all emerged from today's heated debates around race, identity and culture. The "culture wars" have generated ferocious argument, but little clarity. Not So Black and White offers that clarity by taking the long view, explaining the real origins of 'race' in Western thought, and tracing its path from those beginnings to today's fractious world.


This stunning exhibition catalogue visualizes what freedom looks like for Black Americans today and the legacy of the Civil War in 2023 and beyond. Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation sits at the intersection of history and contemporary life. Building upon in-depth conversations about representations of enslavement and emancipation at the close of the Civil War, this project originates from an analysis of sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward's The Freedman (1863), one of the first bronze representations of a Black person in the United States, and expands into an investigation of how living artists envision emancipation, freedom, and liberation today.

Shotgun Seamstress

A cut & paste celebration of Black punk and outsider identity, this is the only complete collection of the fanzine Shotgun Seamstress, a legendary DIY project that centered the scope of Blackness outside of mainstream corporate consumerist identity.

A History of the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was the most influential single movement in African American literary history. The movement laid the groundwork for subsequent African American literature, and had an enormous impact on later black literature world-wide. In its attention to a wide range of genres and forms - from the roman à clef and the bildungsroman, to dance and book illustrations - this book seeks to encapsulate and analyze the eclecticism of Harlem Renaissance cultural expression.

New daughters of Africa: an international anthology of writing by women of African descent.

Three decades after her pioneering anthology, Daughters of Africa, Margaret Busby curates an extraordinary collection of contemporary writing by 200 women writers of African descent, including Zadie Smith, Bernardine Evaristo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A glorious portrayal of the richness and range of African women's voices, this major international book brings together their achievements across a wealth of genres.

Routledge Handbook of Afro-Latin American Studies

This Handbook provides a comprehensive roadmap to the burgeoning area of Afro-Latin American Studies. Afro-Latins include the civilization phenomenon of the African diaspora in the Americas, which developed during the period of slavery, obtaining cultural contributions from indigenous and European worlds and which today is enriched by new social configurations derived from contemporary migrations from Africa.

Who Hears Here?

Representing twenty-five years of commentary and scholarship, these essays document Ramsey's search to understand America's Black musical past and present and to find his own voice as an African American writer in the field of musicology. This far-reaching collection embraces historiography, ethnography, cultural criticism, musical analysis, and autobiography, traversing the landscape of Black musical expression from sacred music to art music, and jazz to hip-hop.

When We See Us

A major new study of Black figurative art from Africa and the African diaspora, covering 100 years from the early 20th century to now. Published to accompany a major exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, this book presents a comprehensive exploration of Black self representation through portraiture and figuration, celebrating Black subjectivity and Black consciousness from Pan-African and Pan-Diasporic perspectives.

Unsettling the Great White North : Black Canadian history

Unsettling the Great White North offers a chronological, regional, and thematic compilation of some of the latest and best scholarship in the field of Black Canadian history.

Afro Atlantic Histories

A colossal, panoramic, much-needed appraisal of the visual cultures of Afro-Atlantic territories across six centuries Named one of the best books of 2021 by Artforum Afro-Atlantic Histories brings together a selection of more than 400 works and documents by more than 200 artists from the 16th to the 21st centuries that express and analyze the ebbs and flows between Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe.

Pleasure in the News

Critics often chastised the twentieth-century black press for focusing on sex and scandal rather than African American achievements. In Pleasure in the News, Kim Gallon takes an opposing stance--arguing that African American newspapers fostered black sexual expression, agency, and identity.

Fragments of Epic Memory

New ways of understanding Caribbean visual culture, from historical photographs following emancipation to contemporary transnational perspectives. Anchored by an extensive selection from the world-class Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Fragments of Epic Memory situates a range of prints, postcards, daguerreotypes and albums from the period just after emancipation in 1838 within a broader context of visual culture in the Caribbean.

Assembling a Black Counter Culture

In Assembling a Black Counter Culture, writer and musician DeForrest Brown, Jr, provides a history and critical analysis of techno and adjacent electronic music such as house and electro, showing how the genre has been shaped over time by a Black American musical sensibility.

Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour - Frederick Douglass

A visual and literary meditation juxtaposing Isaac Julien's artworks with archival images of Frederick Douglass and essays that consider his enduring legacy. This sumptuously illustrated artist's book and reader documents Lessons of the Hour (2019), the ten-screen film installation and series of related photographic artworks by the internationally acclaimed artist Isaac Julien CBE RA (born 1960), which honor the public and private life of one the most important figures in US history: Frederick Douglass.

Black Existential Freedom

The history of slavery, colonization, subjugation, gratuitous violence, and the denial of basic human rights to people of African descent has led Afro-Pessimists to look at black existence through the lens of white supremacy and anti-blackness. Against this trend, Black Existential Freedom argues that Blackness is not inherently synonymous with victimhood. Rather, it is inextricable from existential freedom and the struggle for political liberation.

Really Free: the Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe

An unprecedented look at Nellie Mae Rowe's art as a radical act of self-expression and liberation in the post-civil rights-era South. During the last 15 years of her life, Nellie Mae Rowe lived on Paces Ferry Road, a major thoroughfare in Vinings, Georgia, and welcomed visitors to her "Playhouse," which she decorated with found-object installations, handmade dolls, chewing-gum sculptures and hundreds of drawings.

African American Literature in Transition, 1960-1970: Volume 13

This volume considers innovations, transitions, and traditions in both familiar and unfamiliar texts and moments in 1960s African American literature and culture. It interrogates declarations of race, authenticity, personal and collective empowerment, political action, and aesthetics within this key decade.

Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity

How should articulations of blackness from the fifth century BCE to the twenty-first century be properly read and interpreted? This important and timely new book is the first concerted treatment of black skin color in the Greek literature and visual culture of antiquity. In charting representations in the Hellenic world of black Egyptians, Aithiopians, Indians, and Greeks, Sarah Derbew dexterously disentangles the complex and varied ways in which blackness has been co-produced by ancient authors and artists; their readers, audiences, and viewers; and contemporary scholars.

Blackness As a Universal Claim

In this bold and provocative new book, Damani Partridge examines the possibilities and limits for a universalized Black politics. German youth of Turkish, Arab, and African descent use claims of Blackness to hold states and other institutions accountable for racism today. Partridge tracks how these young people take on the expressions of Black Power, acting out the scene from the 1968 Olympics, proclaiming "I am Malcolm X," expressing mutual struggle with Muhammad Ali and Spike Lee, and standing with raised and clenched fists next to Angela Davis.

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