1st Edition

Black Everyday Lives, Material Culture and Narrative Tings in de House

By Shawn-Naphtali Sobers Copyright 2023
    218 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is a ground-breaking exploration of everyday life as experienced through the lens of Black British cultural history and creative practice, through a multiplicity of voices and writing styles.

    The structure of Black Everyday Lives, Material Culture and Narrative examines life through a personal study of the family home – room by room, object by object – as a portal through which to examine the intricacies and nuances of daily considerations of African heritage people living in Britain in the modern era (post-1950). Using Small Anthropology methodology, this book foregrounds the experiences of Black British lives by bringing the threads of history and culture into the relevancy of the present day and demonstrates how the personal sphere directly links to wider public and political concerns.

    This book will be of interest to a wide range of disciplines, including Black studies, anthropology, cultural studies, history, visual culture, photography, media communication, sociology, community development, art and design, and by any course that studies ethnographic methodologies, material culture, migration, everyday life, and British society.

    1. Front Door / Hallway signs  2. (Living Room) – Photo Wall  3. (Living Room) – Television  4. (Living Room) – Sewing Machine  5. (Living Room) – Armchair (fiction)  6. (Front Room) – Radiogram  7. (Front Room) – The Last Supper  8. (Front Room) – Souvenirs and Ornaments  9. (Kitchen) – Dutch Pot  10. (Kitchen) – Rice  11. (Bathroom) – Afro-comb  12.  (Bathroom) – Sickle Cell Medication  13. (Parent Bedroom) – Suitcase / Grip – Part 1  14. (Teenage Bedroom) – Stuff (photo essay)  15. (‘Sent-for child’s’ Bedroom) – Suitcase / Grip – Part 2  16. (Garden) – Soil (part fiction)  17. – Conclusion


    Shawn-Naphtali Sobers is Professor of Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice at University of the West of England, Director of the Critical Race and Culture Research Group, and teaches photography. As a visual anthropologist he has carried out many research projects, ranging from legacies of slavery, African presence in Georgian and Victorian Britain, disability and walking, Rastafari language and culture, creative citizenship, and Rastafari and Ethiopian connections with the city of Bath. As a filmmaker and photographer his work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally, and has directed and produced documentaries with Firstborn Creatives for BBC1, ITV, and Channel 4.

    "This is the only book that I’ve ever read that manages to capture how we really lived from day to day back in the day. It’s a book like no other. Many of us have been waiting for a book like this. Ras Shawn-Naphtali has given the world a book that is intelligent, accessible, cultural, and lyrical, but true. This is a great contribution to the documentation of our history. This book did so much for me. It made me consider our struggles, our aspirations, and the art in our lives." – Professor Benjamin Zephaniah

    "Sobers uses his inclusive Small Anthropology creatively and incisively to show being and becoming of Black materiality in the home that speaks to us subjectively, intergenerationally, and cross culturally." – Dr Michael McMillan

    "Shawn-Naphtali Sobers presents an essential body of work and a must read primer for anyone interested in the significance of visual ethnography, anthropology, sociology, or interdisciplinary and mixed methodology. Shawn unapologetically renders the power of narrative, objects, and memory enmeshed within the realities of Black culture and history, transporting us into a state of consciousness that is indeed not burdened." – Dr Sireita Mullings