Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities
SUNY Press 2010
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network July 15, 2011 Vershawn Young
Deborah Whaley’s new book Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (SUNY Press, 2010) may be the first full-length study of a Black Greek-Letter Organization (BGLO) written by a non-BGLO member. But that’s not the only reason to read her book. Whaley takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study, which includes a personal rumination on her family’s relation to BGLO’s, interviews with sorority sisters, ethnographic participant observations, and literary and film analyses. Her foray into popular black culture is enriched by deep critical engagement with such texts as Spike Lee’s canonical film “School Daze” and the recent cinematic representation of Black Greek life “Stomp the Yard.” Whaley takes her subject matter seriously, but not so much so that her book lacks wit and charm. Indeed, her prose is just as pleasant, inviting, and engaging as she is in the interview. Check it out.