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Jeppe Mulich's new book, In A Sea of Empires: Networks and Crossings in the Revolutionary Caribbean (Cambridge University Press, 2020) highlights the revolutionary fervor, political turmoil, conflict, and chaos in the Leeward Island region of the Caribbean in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These tense dynamics created opportuni…
 
Cuban resourcefulness is on full display in Cuban Hustle: Culture, Politics, Everyday Life (Duke 2020), as sociologist Sujatha Fernandes presents an array of strategies not just for survival but for the invention of expressive practices and community-building spaces. Enduring years of Special Period economics and a transition away from Fidel Castro…
 
What if the Haitian Revolution, perhaps the only “successful” Black revolution in history, weren’t over? On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews Dr. Jeremy Matthew Glick (h/h) about how and why the Haitian Revolution, which was the only slave rebellion to achieve state sovereignty, remains an inspired site of inves…
 
Long before the English became involved in the African slave trade, they imagined Africans as monstrous and deformed beings. The English drew on pre-existing European ideas about monstrosity and deformity to argue that Africans were a monstrous race, suspended between human and animal, and as such only fit for servitude. Joining blackness to disabi…
 
What is the relationship between race, technology and sound? How can we access the ways that Latin Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries thought about, and importantly, heard, race? In his book Audible Geographies in Latin America: Sounds of Race and Place (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Dylon Robbins approaches this question in a stunning ser…
 
What is the relationship between race, technology and sound? How can we access the ways that Latin Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries thought about, and importantly, heard, race? In his book Audible Geographies in Latin America: Sounds of Race and Place (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Dylon Robbins approaches this question in a stunning ser…
 
As the twentieth century roared on, transformative technologies—from trains, trams, and automobiles to radios and loudspeakers—fundamentally changed the sounds of the Egyptian streets. The cacophony of everyday life grew louder, and the Egyptian press featured editorials calling for the regulation of not only mechanized and amplified sounds, but al…
 
In No Limits to Their Sway: Cartagena’s Privateers and the Masterless Caribbean in the Age of Revolutions (Vanderbilt UP, 2018), Edgardo Pérez Morales investigates the hemispheric connections between the Spanish American colony of New Granada (or Colombia) and the greater Caribbean in the wake of the Haitian Revolution. Residents in the port city o…
 
Welcome to New Books in African American Studies, a channel on the New Books Network. I am your host Adam McNeil. Today is part 2 of my discussion about Dr. Jennifer L. Morgan’s 2004 Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery. Instead of Dr. Morgan, who was featured in part 1 of the discussion, I enlisted a few #Blktwitterstorians…
 
Today I discussed why music so powerful in eliciting emotions with Roger Kennedy, the author of The Power of Music: Psychoanalytic Explorations (Phoenix Publishing House, 2020) Now at The Child and Family Practice in London, Kennedy is a training analyst and past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. This is his fourteenth book. Topics…
 
In 2004, Dr. Jennifer L. Morgan’s Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press) was published. Sixteen years later, Morgan’s Laboring Women stands tall as one of the most important historical texts in the history of the academy. Building on Dr. Deborah Gray White’s literal field building and seminal…
 
Saint Lucia’s rural landscape is more forested today than at any time in at least seventy-five years (probably much longer). This change is profoundly significant given widespread efforts to achieve sustainable development on small-island states like Saint Lucia. Yet, this seemingly good-news story runs contrary to most conventional narratives abou…
 
In his new book Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s (Faber, 2020), Simon Hall, a Professor of Modern History at the University of Leeds, colorfully details an extraordinary visit by Fidel Castro to New York in the Autumn of 1960 for the opening of the UN General Assembly. Holding court from the iconic Hotel Theresa in Harle…
 
The story of freedom and all of its ambiguities begins with intimate acts steeped in power. It is shaped by the peculiar oppressions faced by African women and women of African descent. And it pivots on the self-conscious choices black women made to retain control over their bodies and selves, their loved ones, and their futures. Slavery's rise in …
 
There are two key elements of today’s professional baseball that are informed by Lou Hernandez’s wonderful book Bobby Maduro and the Cuban Sugar Kings (McFarland, 2019): the increased presence of Latinos both on the field and off in MLB, and the interest of MLB to promote its game internationally, particularly in places such as Latin America. The l…
 
Despite being a minor contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, like many other small island nations, The Bahamas’s ecology and society are especially vulnerable to current and expected changes to the oceans and the climate. Spectacular coral reefs, low-lying islands, and a social life oriented towards the sea makes The Bahamas a posterchild …
 
Through a feminist perspective, Carnival Is Woman: Feminism and Performance in Caribbean Mas (University Press of Mississippi, 2019) examines the presence of women in contemporary Carnival by demonstrating not only their strength in numbers, but also the ways in which they participate in the festivities. Exploring different themes, the authors in t…
 
In Record Cultures: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press, 2020), Kyle Barnett tells the story of the smaller U.S. record labels in the 1920s that created the genres later to be known as blues, country, and jazz. Barnett also engages the early recording industry as entertainment media, considering the ways …
 
How have we used twentieth- and twenty-first-century sound technologies to carve out sonic space out of the hustle and bustle of contemporary life? In search for an answer, in this episode I speak with Mack Hagood, Blayney Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Miami University, writer, and podcaster about his book, Hush: Media and Son…
 
In today’s episode, I talk with Dr. Greg Beckett, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Western University, about his richly grounded book There is No More Haiti: Between Life and Death in Port-au-Prince (2019, University of California Press – and it is coming out in a paperback edition this November). This book is an examination of “crisis” in Ha…
 
In his book The Globally Familiar: Digital Hip-Hop, Masculinity, and Urban Space in Delhi (Duke University Press, 2020), Gabriel Dattatreyan departs from the existing literature on masculinity in India, which focuses on largely middle-class, upper-caste embodiments of the same. His focus is on non-elite, urban, lower caste/class embodiments of masc…
 
In his book The Hidden History of International Law in The Americas: Empires and Legal Networks (Oxford University Press, 2017), Juan Pablo Scarfi shows the central role of a coterie of elite Latin American jurists and intellectuals in constructing a Pan-American inflected conception of international law. In exploring the rise of so-called “America…
 
In Sovereign Acts: Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panama and the Canal Zone (Rutgers University Press, 2017), Katherine Zien examines the ways politicians, activists, artists, and residents performed and interpreted sovereignty in the Canal Zone from U.S. control over the zone in 1903 to its withdrawal in 1999. Moving beyond the big ditch…
 
In her incisive study Baseball as Mediated Latinidad: Race, Masculinity, Nationalism, and Performances of Identity (Ohio State University Press, 2020), Jennifer Domino Rudolph analyzes major league baseball’s Latin/o American players—who now make up more than twenty-five percent of MLB—as sites of undesirable surveillance due to the historical, pol…
 
Muslims have lived in the Caribbean for centuries. Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers University Press, 2020) examines the archive of autobiography, literature, music and public celebrations in Guyana and Trinidad, offering an analysis of the ways Islam became integral to the Caribbean, and the ways the Caribbean shaped Islam…
 
Ismael Garcia-Colon, Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms (University of California Press, 2020) is the first in-depth look at the experiences of Puerto Rican migrant workers in continental U.S. agriculture in the twentieth century. The Farm Labor Program, established by the government of Puerto Rico in 1947,…
 
In Food In Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal (Stanford University Press, 2020), Hanna Garth examines the processes of acquiring food and preparing meals in the midst of food shortages. Garth draws our attention to the social, cultural, and historical factors Cuban’s draw upon to define an appropriate or decent meal and the struggle they undergo to…
 
“What makes song sparrows, Verdi, medieval monks, and minstrelsy part of the same taxonomy?” So asks—and answers—Rachel Mundy, who is Assistant Professor of Music at Rutgers University–Newark. In her book, Animal Musicalities: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), Mundy shows how the history of the humanities …
 
Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (Plácido) were perhaps the most important and innovative Cuban writers of African descent during the Spanish colonial era. Both nineteenth-century authors used Catholicism as a symbolic language for African-inspired spirituality. Likewise, Plácido and Manzano subverted the popular imagery o…
 
We might call movies made before the advent of the talkies in 1927 silent films—but for the audience, they were certainly not silent. Live orchestras and solo instrumentalists accompanied early movies, adding evocative music drawn from pre-existent and newly composed sources. Kendra Preston Leonard, author of Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinem…
 
How did Africans become 'blacks' in the Americas? Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (Cambridge University Press, 2020) tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Their communities challenged slavehold…
 
The Caribbean has figuratively and literally been entangled in processes of global integration earlier than other parts of the Americas. In Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean (UNC Press, 2016), Alejandra Bronfman offers a refreshing perspective to this well-trodden story. In this book, she traces the emergence and growth of telecommunicat…
 
The Caribbean has figuratively and literally been entangled in processes of global integration earlier than other parts of the Americas. In Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean (UNC Press, 2016), Alejandra Bronfman offers a refreshing perspective to this well-trodden story. In this book, she traces the emergence and growth of telecommunicat…
 
Aaron Kamugisha reads CLR James and Sylvia Wynter to glean from them ways to navigate the “beyond” of coloniality. In his new book Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition (Indiana University Press, 2019), reminds us of a Caribbean radical tradition that is fiercely critical of racism, middle-class complac…
 
In Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration (Cornell University Press 2018), Robert C. McGreevey explores the contested meaning and limits of citizenship for Puerto Ricans from the late nineteenth century to the late 1930s. This timely monograph brings together legal, cultural, and labour history t…
 
In Tides of Revolution: Information, Insurgencies, and the Crisis of Colonial Rule in Venezuela (University of New Mexico Press, 2018), Cristina Soriano examines the links between the spread of radical ideas, literacy, and the circulation of information in a society without a printing press. In doing so, Soriano shows the ways Caribbean revolutiona…
 
Tanya Harmer’s new biography, Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America (University of North Carolina Press, 2020), explores how a young Chilean woman pursued her political commitments and navigated patriarchal strictures as a militant leftist. The daughter of Salvador Allende, Beatriz Allende was born in 1942 and came of age …
 
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including t…
 
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including t…
 
Jah Kingdom: Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism in the Age of Decolonization (UNC Press, 2017), examines Rastafarian repatriation to Tanzania in the 1970s and 1980s. In doing so, Monique A. Bedasse situates Rastafarianism’s connection to black radical politics and internationalism within Tanzania, the site for pan-African solidarity in inde…
 
As we now know, epidemics and pandemics are not new phenomena. In her new book The Yellow Demon of Fever: Fighting Disease in the 19th-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade (Yale University Press, 2020), Manuel Barcia offers a striking rendition of the diseases that swept through the illegal slave trade Atlantic World. In fact, Barcia argues that the h…
 
In his book, Rice in the Time of Sugar: The Political Economy of Food in Cuba (UNC Press, 2019), Louis A. Pérez, Jr. explores how Cuba’s dependency on the sugar economy also made the island’s population dependent on food imports like rice. Despite efforts to diversify agricultural production and produce rice domestically, U.S. rice producers consis…
 
In Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation (Duke University Press, 2015), Natasha J. Lightfoot traces the ways Antiguans and Barbudans experienced freedom in the immediate years before and decades after British emancipation in 1834. With the exception of a handful of places, slavery ended immediately without a period of…
 
The history of the Caribbean Island of Trinidad bears witness to an important interplay between the religious practices of peoples of South Asian and those of peoples of African descent, and in particular the manner in which colonial religious categories shaped that interplay. In The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Tri…
 
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together con…
 
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together con…
 
In Sonic Writing: Technologies of Material, Symbolic, and Signal Inscriptions (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Thor Magnusson—musician, Professor of Future Music, and member of the Experimental Music Technologies Lab at the University of Sussex—provides a sweeping overview of the tools and techniques of music-making both before and after the dawn of co…
 
Pankaj Jain, Dharma in America: A Short History of Hindu-Jain Diaspora (Routledge, 2019) provides a concise history of Hindus and Jains in the Americas over the last two centuries, highlighting contributions to the economic and intellectual growth of the US in particular. Pankaj Jain pays special attention to contributions of the Hindu and Jain dia…
 
In the second half of the eighteenth century, as European imperial conflicts extended the domain of capitalist agriculture, warring African factions fed their captives to the transatlantic slave trade while masters struggled continuously to keep their restive slaves under the yoke. In this contentious atmosphere, a movement of enslaved West African…
 
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions i…
 
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