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Ordinary Intimacies in Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin
Prentiss Clark

This essay reads James Baldwin in conversation with two unexpected interlocutors from the American nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Ralph Waldo Emerson and W. E. B. Du Bois. What draws these historically distant and intellectually different thinkers together, their differences making their convergences all the more resonant and provocative, is a shared mode of attention they bring to the social crises of their eras. It is a mode of attention foregrounding how the often unobserved particulars and emotional registers of human life vitally shape civic existence; more specifically, a mode of attention provoking us to see how “a larger, juster, and fuller future,” in Du Bois’s words, is a matter of the ordinary intimacies and estrangements in which we exist, human connections in all their expressions and suppressions. Emerson names them “facts [. . .] harder to read.” They are “the finer manifestations,” in Du Bois’s terms, “of social life, which history can but mention and which statistics can not count”; “All these things,” Baldwin says, “[. . .] which no chart can tell us.” In effect, from the 1830s to the 1980s these thinkers bear witness to what politics, legislation, and even all our knowledges can address only partially, and to the potentially transformative compensations we might realize in the way we conduct our daily lives. The immediate relevance and urgency this essay finds in their work exists not in proposed political actions, programs for reform, or systematic theories of social justice but in the way their words revitalize the ethical question “How shall I live?” Accumulative and suggestive rather than systematically comparative or polemical, this essay attempts to engage with Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin intimately, to proceed in the spirit of their commitment to questioning received disciplines, languages, and ways of inhabiting the world.

James Baldwin Review
Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism
Author: Laura Chrisman

This book analyses black Atlantic studies, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory, providing paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness and black transnationalism. Its concerns range from the metropolitan centre of Conrad's Heart of Darkness to fatherhood in Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk; from the marketing of South African literature to cosmopolitanism in Achebe; and from utopian discourse in Parry to Jameson's theorisation of empire.

Sol Plaatje and W.E.B.Du Bois
Laura Chrisman

chapter5 21/12/04 11:16 am Page 89 5 Black Atlantic nationalism: Sol Plaatje and W.E.B. Du Bois The critical era of black Atlanticism began in 1993, with the publication of Paul Gilroy’s seminal book The Black Atlantic.1 The book’s focus on the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa, Europe and the New World was not original. Such a focus has been the concern of African and African diasporic thinkers from at least Equiano onwards.2 Rather, what distinguished Gilroy’s work was its theoretical and political thrust. This was firmly anti

in Postcolonial contraventions
Open Access (free)
Universalism and the Jewish question
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

right in the sense that ‘an anti-Semite is inevitably anti-Negro’. 9 W.E.B. Du Bois remarked that it had never occurred to him that ‘race prejudice could be anything but colour prejudice’ until his visit to the Warsaw Ghetto gave him ‘a more complete understanding of the Negro problem’ as a form of ‘human hate … capable of reaching all sorts of people’. 10 He commented that ‘The ghetto of Warsaw helped me to emerge from a certain social provincialism into a

in Antisemitism and the left
Chinua Achebe’s critique of cosmopolitics
Laura Chrisman

: Even James Baldwin returning to America from France in a casket and W.E.B. Du Bois finding a resting place in Ghana … Diverse as their individual situations or predicaments were, these children of the West roamed the world with the confidence of the authority of their homeland behind them. The purchasing power of even very chapter10 21/12/04 158 11:25 am Page 158 Postcolonial theoretical politics little real money in their pocket set against the funny money all around them might often be enough to validate their authority without any effort on their part. The

in Postcolonial contraventions
Siobhán McIlvanney

fully assimilated by either Algerian or French culture. As a peripheral group within a peripheral group, beur women writers have the particularly acute sense of the split self or dual identity that W. E. B. Du Bois attributes to the African American, whose self-perception, he argues, is intrinsically linked to the other’s perception of him, resulting in a form of ‘double consciousness’ or awareness.17 This awareness is positively channelled in Ils disent que je suis une beurette, in which the narrator develops from being the perceived, objectified other in a television

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Laura Chrisman

imperialistic attitudes that structured earlier AfricanAmerican relations with Africans, as for example in nineteenth-century providentialism, through which as Jim Campbell explains black Americans ‘claimed the right, indeed the obligation, to “redeem”Africans, to remake their “benighted” brethren in their own, higher image’.25 This vanguardism is open to historical and conceptual contestation. In the case of South Africa, for instance, New World African leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington wielded considerable influence over South African

in Postcolonial contraventions
Open Access (free)
Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic
Laura Chrisman

conceptualisation that posits black diasporic identity to be constituted through the triangular relationship of the continents of Africa, Europe and America. He traces the path of this transnational cultural-political formation through an exhilarating series of case studies analysing contemporary black music, the formative sojourns of prominent black intellectuals W.E.B. Du Bois and Richard Wright in Germany and France respectively. Of Du Bois, for example, he argues: chapter4 21/12/04 11:00 am Page 79 Journeying to death 79 Du Bois’s travel experiences raise in the

in Postcolonial contraventions
The failure and success of a Swedish film diversity initiative
Mara Lee Gerdén

reasonable to argue that constructions of race are also performed along emotional lines. Kim concludes that if race is partly affectively constructed then we also have to begin to rethink race (497). In order to demonstrate the emergence and range of racial emotions, Kim turns to W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon and Lorde (again). I share her and many other scholars’ understanding of these writers as making a powerful case for the profoundness of the emotions of grief, rage, anger, disgust and hatred as intimately connected to the experience of racial subjectivity. In a

in The power of vulnerability
Open Access (free)
What does race have to do with the Yugoslav region?
Catherine Baker

later engage more deeply with postsocialism in collaboration with the Russia-based feminist Madina Tlostanova, extending a decolonial ‘thinking from the borders’ – itself based on W. E. B. Du Bois's ‘double consciousness’ of African-American experience (Du Bois 1994 [1903] ) – to historicise how simultaneous attachment-to-Europe and rejection-by-Europe have characterised national identities across the former Russian and Ottoman empires (Mignolo and Tlostanova 2006 ). Local Histories/Global Designs itself, however, did not suggest where amid the colonial difference

in Race and the Yugoslav region