James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head

This article considers James Baldwin’s last published novel, Just Above My Head (1979), as the culmination of his exploration of kinship, reflecting on the ways distance and loss characterize African-American familial relations. By analyzing Baldwin’s representation of Hall Montana’s relationship to, and mourning of, his younger brother Arthur, this article argues that JAMH revises the terms of the black family to imagine an alternative, errant kinship that is adoptive, migratory, and sustained through songs of joy and grief. My approach to the novel’s portrayal of kinship is indebted to Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation (1990), in which he defines “errantry” as a fundamental characteristic of diaspora that resists the claustrophobic, filial violence and territorial dispossession that are slavery’s legacies. Baldwin represents errant kinship in JAMH through his inclusion of music and formal experimentation. Departing from previous scholarship that reads JAMH as emblematic of the author’s artistic decline, I interpret the novel’s numerous syntactic and figurative experiments as offering new formal insight into his portrait of brotherly love. Baldwin’s integration of two distinctive leitmotifs, blood and song, is therefore read as a formal gesture toward a more capacious and migratory kinship.

James Baldwin Review

to see that the (post)colonial run-up to genocide was a story of too much intervention, even in the name of democracy. During my doctoral research, I rediscovered the case of Somaliland. A self-declared independent republic in the north-western corner of Somalia, Somaliland had declined US and UN interventions at the beginning of the 1990s, apart from specific assistance (the clean-up of landmines, for example). Instead, it took care of its peace-building process internally and with its diaspora. Over the years, even though the international

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

fact that, two and a half decades on, Somalia struggles to shake off its reputation (warranted or not) as a ‘hopeless’ case, and the practical demands of working in such a complex crisis over a long time period, carried particular resonance for participants more immediately concerned with what is occurring in contemporary Syria and South Sudan, for example. The participation of two Somali colleagues (via Skype), along with members of the Somali diaspora, was significant in that sense. It provided an alternative (and frequently highly critical) reading of the workshop

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Cricket, Canada and the Caribbean diaspora

This book outlines the ways in which sport helps to create transnational social fields that interconnect migrants dispersed across a region known as the Black Atlantic: England, North America and the Caribbean. Many Caribbean men’s stories about their experiences migrating to Canada, settling in Toronto’s urban and suburban neighbourhoods, finding jobs, returning home for visits, and traveling to other diasporic locations involved some contact with a cricket and social club. The cricket ground brings black Canadians together as a unified community, not only to celebrate their homeland cultures or assuage the pain of the “racial terror” that unifies the Black Atlantic, but also to allay the pain of aging in the diaspora. Players and spectators corporeal practices, post-game activities, sport-related travel, as well as music, food, meetings, fundraisers, parties, and shared stories are analysed in this text as resources deployed to maintain the Black Atlantic, that is, to create deterritorialized communities and racial identities; A close look at what goes on before, during, and after cricket matches provides insights into the contradictions and complexities of Afro-diasporic identity performances, the simultaneous representation of sameness and difference among Afro-Caribbean, African-American, Black British, Indo-Caribbean and South-Asian groups in Canada. This book describes twenty-one months of ethnographic empirical evidence of how black identities are gendered, age-dependent and formed relationally, with boundary making (and crossing) as an active process in multicultural Canada.

A centuries-old dream?

This book assesses the formation of Croatian national identity in the 1990s. It develops a novel framework, calling into question both primordial and modernist approaches to nationalism and national identity, before applying that framework to Croatia. In doing so, the book provides a new way of thinking about how national identity is formed and why it is so important. An explanation is given of how Croatian national identity was formed in the abstract, via a historical narrative that traces centuries of yearning for a national state. The book shows how the government, opposition parties, dissident intellectuals and diaspora groups offered alternative accounts of this narrative in order to legitimise contemporary political programmes based on different versions of national identity. It then looks at how these debates were manifested in social activities as diverse as football, religion, economics and language. This book attempts to make an important contribution to both the way we study nationalism and national identity, and our understanding of post-Yugoslav politics and society.

Open Access (free)

Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.

Open Access (free)

: cricket is not “some specific unit that one adds to what really constitutes the history of a period. Cricket is as much part of the history as books written are part of the history” ( 1986 , p. xi). Given that, according to James ( 1963 ) cricket is not only the central, but also the most ideologically loaded Caribbean cultural practice, any documentation of the history and culture of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora must include an

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
Open Access (free)

histories and crucibles of diasporic trajectories “where Europe is not at ‘the center’ – which retain a critical bearing on understanding contemporary diasporic formations and their inter-relationships.” Thus, it is necessary to deploy “diaspora space,” which is a concept introduced by Avtar Brah ( 1996 ) to explore the lateral connections between diasporas – the ways “in which

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
Open Access (free)

In my search for tidy conclusions and a singular confirmation of the meaning of sport in the Black Atlantic, I came up empty handed, or “wit’ me two long arms” as cricket club members might say. There are so many dimensions to the transnational flows of peoples and cultures of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora that have important bearing on how we think about black masculinities

in Sport in the Black Atlantic

conditions continue to exist. But the trend is to greater mobility, and it may be that some state of greater mobility, short of extreme mobility, will pose greater challenges to the state than Bauböck allows. I use the archetypes of diaspora communities to critique his position on citizenship inside and outside the territory of the state. Diaspora communities may be disconnected from the political community of their state of residence even as they

in Democratic inclusion