This essay presents the idea of James Baldwin as a freedom writer, the organizing idea of
my biography in progress. As a freedom writer, Baldwin was a revolutionary intellectual,
an essayist and novelist committed unfailingly to the realization of racial justice,
interracial political equality, and economic democracy. While the book is still in
process, this short essay narrates autobiographically how I came to meet and know
Baldwin’s work, explains in critical fashion my work in relation to existing biographies,
and reflects interpretively my thoughts-in- progress on this fascinating and captivating
figure of immense historical and social consequence.
James Baldwin’s Radicalism and the Evolution of His Thought on
This article traces the evolution of James Baldwin’s discourse on the
Arab–Israeli conflict as connected to his own evolution as a Black
thinker, activist, and author. It creates a nuanced trajectory of the
transformation of Baldwin’s thought on the Arab–Israeli conflict
and Black and Jewish relations in the U.S. This trajectory is created through
the lens of Baldwin’s relationship with some of the major radical Black
movements and organizations of the twentieth century: Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad
and the Nation of Islam, and, finally, the Black Power movement, especially the
Black Panther Party. Using Baldwin as an example, the article displays the
Arab–Israeli conflict as a terrain Black radicals used to articulate
their visions of the nature of Black oppression in the U.S., strategies of
resistance, the meaning of Black liberation, and articulations of Black
identity. It argues that the study of Baldwin’s transformation from a
supporter of the Zionist project of nation-building to an advocate of
Palestinian rights and national aspirations reveals much about the ideological
transformations of the larger Black liberation movement.
Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.
independence. When the Irish BBC producer Henry Swanzy was relieved
of his job on Caribbean Voices in 1954 he chose to be posted
to the Gold Coast. The West Indian connections are powerfully
visible in Kevin Gaines, ‘Revisiting Richard Wright in Ghana:
blackradicalism and the dialectics of diaspora’, Social
Text , 67 (2001).