The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism

A pathbreaking work of scholarship that will reshape our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance, The Practice of Diaspora revisits black transnational culture in the 1920s and 1930s, paying particular attention to links between intellectuals in New York and their Francophone counterparts in Paris. Brent Edwards suggests that diaspora is less a historical condition than a set of practices: the claims, correspondences, and collaborations through which black intellectuals pursue a variety of international alliances.

Edwards elucidates the workings of diaspora by tracking the wealth of black transnational print culture between the world wars, exploring the connections and exchanges among New York–based publications (such as Opportunity, The Negro World, and The Crisis) and newspapers in Paris (such as Les Continents, La Voix des Nègres, and L’Etudiant Noir). In reading a remarkably diverse archive—the works of writers and editors from Langston Hughes, René Maran, and Claude McKay to Paulette Nardal, Alain Locke, W.E.B. Du Bois, George Padmore, and Tiemoko Garan Kouyaté—The Practice of Diaspora takes account of the highly divergent ways of imagining race beyond the barriers of nation and language. In doing so, it reveals the importance of translation, arguing that the politics of diaspora are legible above all in efforts at negotiating difference among populations of African descent throughout the world.

The Black Pacific: Anti-Colonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections

Why have the struggles of the African Diaspora so resonated with South Pacific people? How have Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha activists incorporated the ideologies of the African diaspora into their struggle against colonial rule and racism, and their pursuit of social justice?

This book challenges predominant understandings of the historical linkages that make up the (post-)colonial world. The author goes beyond both the domination of the Atlantic viewpoint, and the correctives now being offered by South Pacific and Indian Ocean studies, to look at how the Atlantic ecumene is refracted in and has influenced the Pacific ecumene. The book is empirically rich, using extensive interviews, participation and archival work and focusing on the politics of Black Power and the Rastafari faith. It is also theoretically sophisticated, offering an innovative hermeneutical critique of post-colonial and subaltern studies.

The Black Pacific is essential reading for students and scholars of Politics, International Relations, History and Anthropology interested in anti-colonial struggles, anti-racism and the quests for equality, justice, freedom and self-determination.

Do ‘Africans’ exist? Geneaologies and paradoxes of African identities and the discourse of nativism and xenophobia

One of the paradoxes of the making of African nations and African identities is the recent metamorphoses and mutations of African nationalism from civic principles founded on the slogan of ‘diverse people unite’ to narrow, autochthonous, nativist and xenophobic forms that breed violence. This article seeks to examine key contours in the making of African identities, with a specific focus on historical, cartographic, and hegemonic processes that coalesced towards the creation of a particular kind of nationalism that failed to create a stable African common identity within postcolonial states. Beginning with the making of the African continent itself (as both an idea and reality), the article delves deeper into the pertinent issues in the making of Africans-as-people. At the centre of analysis are the key identity-forming processes such as the Atlantic slave trade, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, as well as ideologies like Pan-Africanism, Garveyism, Negritude, African Personality, Black Consciousness Movement, and African Renaissance. The central challenge in the struggle of forging stable African identities remains that of how to negotiate and blend together diversities of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, class, region, language, culture, generation as well as how to deal with the phenomenon of degeneration of plural and civic forms of nationalism into nativism, xenophobia and even genocides in recent years. These issues need serious and unsententious consideration at this juncture when African leaders are busy toying with and implementing the mega-project of establishing the United States of Africa. This is taking place within a terrain dominated by bigotry and prejudices on the African continent.