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Race and the Tragedy of American Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

In this essay, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. addresses the historical and contemporary failures of American democracy. Using the metaphor of “the magician’s serpent,” Glaude brings Walt Whitman’s views on democracy into the full light of America’s failure to resolve the problem of race. Glaude places Whitman’s Democratic Vistas (1871) in conversation with James Baldwin’s No Name in the Street (1972) in order to construct a different sort of reading practice that can both engage with Whitman’s views on democracy and reckon with what George Hutchinson calls Whitman’s “white imperialist self and ideology” as an indication of the limits of a certain radical democratic imagining.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Dennis Ray Knight Jr.

If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities. Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Civil Rights Revolution
Nicholas Buccola

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised James Baldwin and the privileged William F. Buckley, Jr. could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in February 1965 to debate race and the American Dream at the Cambridge Union, Buckley—a founding father of the American conservative movement—was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.” For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. In this article I introduce readers to the story at the heart of my new book about Baldwin and Buckley, The Fire Is Upon Us.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
On James Baldwin and the Many Roles in Revolution
Nicholas Binford

Artists, scholars, and popular media often describe James Baldwin as revolutionary, either for his written work or for his role in the civil rights movement. But what does it mean to be revolutionary? This article contends that thoughtlessly calling James Baldwin revolutionary obscures and erases the non-revolutionary strategies and approaches he employed in his contributions to the civil rights movement and to race relations as a whole. Frequent use of revolutionary as a synonym for “great” or “important” creates an association suggesting that all good things must be revolutionary, and that anything not revolutionary is insufficient, effectively erasing an entire spectrum of social and political engagement from view. Baldwin’s increasing relevance to our contemporary moment suggests that his non-revolutionary tactics are just as important as the revolutionary approaches employed by civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, Jr.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the 1965 Cambridge Debate
Daniel Robert McClure

The 1965 debate at Cambridge University between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr., posed the question: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the Expense of the American Negro?” Within the contours of the debate, Baldwin and Buckley wrestled with the ghosts of settler colonialism and slavery in a nation founded on freedom and equality. Framing the debate within the longue durée, this essay examines the deep cultural currents related to the American racial paradox at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Underscoring the changing language of white resistance against black civil rights, the essay argues that the Baldwin and Buckley debate anticipated the ways the U.S. would address racial inequality in the aftermath of the civil rights era and the dawn of neoliberalism in the 1970s.

James Baldwin Review
An Interview with Raoul Peck
Leah Mirakhor

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) takes its direction from the notes for a book entitled “Remember this House” that James Baldwin left unfinished, a book about his three friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.— their murders, and their intertwining legacies. The film examines the prophetic shadow Baldwin’s work casts on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American politics and culture. Peck compiles archival material from Baldwin’s interviews on The Dick Cavett Show, his 1965 Cambridge lecture, and a series of banal images indexing the American dream. Juxtaposed against this mythology is footage of Dorothy Counts walking to school, the assassination of black leaders and activists, KKK rallies, and the different formations of the contemporary carceral state. Our conversation examines Peck’s role as a filmmaker and his relationship with the Baldwin estate. Additionally, we discussed a series of aesthetic choices he fought to include in the film’s final cut, directing Samuel L. Jackson as the voice for the film, the similarities and shifts he wanted to document in American culture since the 1960s, and some of the criticism he has received for not emphasizing more Baldwin’s sexuality.

James Baldwin Review
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Fetters of an American farmgirl
R.J. Ellis

4 Our Nig: fetters of an American farmgirl R.J. Ellis From her who ever was and still’s a slave (Mary Collier, 1739)1 Following its rediscovery by Henry Louis Gates Jr in 1982, Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig (1859) was quickly identified as a double first – the first African-American novel published by a woman and the first AfricanAmerican novel published in the USA. It was also rapidly located within its ante-bellum abolitionist literary contexts. Plainly Our Nig draws upon Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and slave narrative writing of this period.2 My

in Special relationships
Open Access (free)
Lillian Leitzel’s celebrity, agency and her performed femininity
Kate Holmes

freedom. The 1920s was a particularly interesting time in circus history in the USA and England because of the popularity of circus and changes in the industry. In America, the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Combined Show was touring the country with a Big Top tent capable Aerial star ­217 of holding over 16,500 audience members for twice-daily performances. The American Big Top may have reached its peak capacity in the 1920s (Dahlinger Jr, 2008: 224; Davis, 2002: 293), but this was not to last, as the economic downturn that created the American Depression in the

in Stage women, 1900–50
On last animals and future bison
Joshua Schuster

conservation. The initial emphasis on identifying how ‘shifting baselines’ become the new normal was developed in 2002 by several marine biologists, divers and filmmakers, who set up a media and research campaign at Further discussion of the issue of massively reduced populations now taken as the norm can be found in Caroline Fraser (2009: 294–9). For a detailed history of the work to repopulate the few remaining bison, see Mark V. Barrow, Jr. (2009). The linking of queer and wild made here owes much to the recent work of Jack Halberstam, who has a

in Literature and sustainability
Feminist aesthetics, negativity and semblance
Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

Lukács and Adorno, this demand for mimesis produces, as Henry Mimesis in black and white 53 Louis Gates Jr. remarks, ‘an overly mimetic conception of oppositional literature’.8 Yet, this often unexamined interconnection between the ‘mimetic’ and the ‘oppositional’ produces what Paul Gilroy diagnoses as the politics of fulfilment, that is, politics ‘content to play occidental rationality at its own game’.9 By legitimating the contextual integration of aesthetics into cultural logic, even if it is a logic of opposition, this ahistorical appeal to mimesis, I would

in The new aestheticism