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The Black Public Sphere

During the 1980s and 1990s the black public sphere has expanded in reach and complexity even as progressive black political agendas have been and continue to be shattered and social programs gutted. Today, African Americans find themselves more highly integrated into American life than ever before, and yet, in many ways they are still as thoroughly segregated as at any time during this century.

To think about the black public sphere we have to be willing to rethink the relationship between markets and freedom, commodity and identity, property and pleasure. This book provides more sophisticated approaches to matters historically consigned to inadequate rubrics—"the Negro problem," "subcultures," "minorities," "inner city," and "multicultural." While these rubrics constrict and stereotype, the analytic potential of the black public sphere is that it facilitates new ways to discuss democratic values and citizenship.

Table of Contents

The Black Public Sphere Collective
The Black Public Sphere
Critical Memory and the Black Public Sphere
Houston A. Baker, Jr.
Malcolm X and the Black Public Sphere: Conversionists versus Culturalists
Manthia Diawara
"After the Love Has Gone": bio-politics and etho-poetics in the black public sphere
Paul Gilroy
"Can You Be BLACK and Look at This?": Reading the Rodney King Video(s)
Elizabeth Alexander
Photo Essays
Hope Reclaimed: South African Elections May 1994
Refuge Refused: Haitians, Borders, and Democracy
Negotiating and Transforming the Public Sphere: African American Political Life in the Transition from Slavery to Freedom
Elsa Barkley Brown
Race, Identity, and Political Activism: The Shifting Contours of the African American Public Sphere
Steven Gregory
Black Cinderella?: Race and the Public Sphere in Brazil
Michael Hanchard
Photo Essay
Black Global Public Spheres
A Black Counterpublic?: Economic Earthquakes, Racial Agenda(s), and Black Politics
Michael C. Dawson
"A Nation of Thieves": Consumption, Commerce, and the Black Public Sphere
Regina Austin
X Marks the Spot: The Ambiguities of African Trading in the Commerce of the Black Public Sphere
Rosemary J. Coombe and Paul Stoller
Culture versus Commerce: The Marketing of Black Popular Music
Reebee Garofalo
Check Yo Self, Before You Wreck Yo Self: Variations on a Political Theme in Rap Music and Popular Culture
Todd Boyd
University Presses and the Black Reader
Elizabeth Maguire
Afterword: Mapping the Black Public Sphere
Thomas C. Holt

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