Preston Lauterbach, “The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll” (W. W. Norton, 2011)
Where does rock ‘n’ roll begin? In The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll (W. W. Norton, 2011), Preston Lauterbach makes a strong case for its beginnings in the backwoods and small-town juke joints, fed by big-city racketeering, of the black American South. It begins, possibly, on... Read More
Marcia Alesan Dawkins, “Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity” (Baylor UP, 2012)
Performance queen RuPaul once famously quipped that “we’re born naked; the rest is drag”–meaning everyone dons identity, performs one’s concept of self within our social networks, e.g., family, community, work. Marcia Alesan Dawkins takes RuPaul’s theory further in her new book, Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural... Read More
Yael Tamar Lewin, “Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins” (Wesleyan UP, 2011)
What does it mean for a contemporary scholar to be trusted with the unfinished autobiography of a dance legend? How does one ensure that the integrity of their research matches the depth of life experience embodied in their subject’s narrative? Who is best served by the sharing of the untold... Read More
Meredith Roman, “Opposing Jim Crow: African Americans and the Soviet Indictment of US Racism, 1928-1937” (University of Nebraska Press, 2012)
In December 1958, US Senator Hubert H. Humphery recalled that at some point during an eight hour meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier “tore off on a whole long lecture” that the Senator wished he could remember because it was “the best speech I could ever make in my... Read More
Sikivu Hutchinson, “Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars” (Infidel Books, 2011)
Sikivu Hutchinson‘s book Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (Infidel Books, 2011) is a brave examination of African American religious perspectives vis a vis progressive racial politics, gender relations, and cultural values. She tackles uncomfortable questions about the possibly excessive role of religiosity among African Americans,... Read More
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