New Books Network

John Gennari

Flavor and Soul

Italian America and Its African American Edge

University of Chicago Press 2017

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Italian StudiesNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network April 25, 2018 Rebekah Buchanan

In his book, Flavor and Soul: Italian America and Its African American Edge (University of Chicago Press, 2017), scholar John Gennari examines the intersectionalities between African...

In his book, Flavor and Soul: Italian America and Its African American Edge (University of Chicago Press, 2017), scholar John Gennari examines the intersectionalities between African American and Italian American cultures in the United States. Using an auto-ethnographic lens, Gennari explores this relationship, what he calls “the edge”, between the two cultures. Gennari examines the intersectionalities in music, film, sports, and foodways, spotlighting the edge as a way to highlight the ways in which the relationship between Italian American and African American cultures has been both joyous and beneficial as well as fraught with violence and suspicion. He posits that an Afro-Italian sensibility has vitalized American culture, even with the conflicts over urban spaces, political and personal respect, and overlapping histories of exclusion. Through his personal connections as well as critical and well-researched chapters on the intersections between these two cultures, Gennari gives readers a deeper understanding of the histories and relationships between African Americans and Italian Americans.


Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative in peoples lives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at rj-buchanan@wiu.edu.