In the humanities, the term `diaspora' recently emerged as a promising and powerful heuristic concept. It challenged traditional ways of thinking and invited reconsiderations of theoretical assumptions about the unfolding of cross-cultural and multi-ethnic societies, about power relations, frontiers and boundaries, about cultural transmission, communication and translation. The present collection of essays by renowned writers and scholars addresses these issues and helps to ground the ongoing debate about the African diaspora in a more solid theoretical framework. Part I is dedicated to a general discussion of the concept of African diaspora, its origins and historical development. Part II examines the complex cultural dimensions of African diasporas in relation to significant sites and figures, including the modes and modalities of creative expression from the perspective of both artists/writers and their audiences; finally, Part III focusses on the resources (collections and archives) and iconographies that are available today. As most authors argue, the African diaspora should not be seen merely as a historical phenomenon, but also as an idea or ideology and an object of representation. By exploring this new ground, the essays assembled here provide important new insights for scholars in American and African-American Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and African Studies. The collection is rounded off by an annotated listing of black autobiographies.
Genevieve Fabre is professor emerita at the University Paris 7 and director of the Center for African American and Diasporas Studies. Klaus Benesch is Professor of English and Chair of American Studies at the University of Bayreuth (Germany).
INTRODUCTION Genevieve FABRE/Klaus BENESCH: The Concept of African Diaspora(s): A Critical Reassessment THINKING DIASPORAS Brent HAYES EDWARDS: The Uses of `Diaspora' David PALUMBO-LIU: Against Race: Yes, But At What Cost? Michel FEITH: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s Signifying Monkey: A Diasporic Critical Myth DIASPORIC HISTORICAL SITES Sylvia FREY: Cultural Migrations: A Time-&-Space Outline of Black Atlantic Protestantism Sujaya DHANVANTARI: French Revolutionary Song in the Haitian Revolution 1789-1804 Winston JAMES: From John Brown Russwurm to George Padmore: The Anglophone Caribbean Diaspora and Pan-African Projects LITERARY WRITINGS OF DIASPORA Carla L. PETERSON: Modernity and Historical Consciousness in the "New Negro" Novel at the Nadir (1892-1903) Klaus BENESCH: Notes from Underground: William Demby's The Catacombs and the Diasporic Roots of African-American Modernism Kathie BIRAT: The Conundrum of Home: The Diasporic Imagination in The Nature of Blood by Caryl Phillips Seth MOGLEN: Modernism in the Black Diaspora: Langston Hughes and the "broken cubes of Picasso" VISUAL ART AND PERFORMANCE Amy KIRSCHKE: Du Bois, The Crisis and Images of Africa and the Diaspora Iris SCHMEISSER: "Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands": Ethiopianism, Egyptomania, and the Arts of the Harlem Renaissance Judith BETTELHEIM: Carnaval of Los Congos in Portobelo, Panama: Feathered Men and Queens POSTSCRIPT Tom FEELINGS: The Middle Passage: A Visual Narrative APPENDIX Phyllis B. BISCHOF : The Power and Place of Black Diasporan Autobiography : An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies