Reflecting critically on the discipline of African American studies is a complicated undertaking. Making sense of the black American experience requires situating it within the larger cultural, political-economic, and ideological dynamics that shape American life. This volume moves away from privileging racial commonality as the fulcrum of inquiry and moves toward observing the quality of the accounts scholars have rendered of black American life. This book maps the changing conditions of black political practice and experience from Emancipation to Obama with excursions into the Jim Crow era, Black Power radicalism, and the Reagan revolt. Here are essays, classic and new, that define historically and conceptually discrete problems affecting black Americans as these problems have been shaped by both politics and scholarly fashion. A key goal of the book is to come to terms with the changing terrain of American life in view of major Civil Rights court decisions and legislation.
Introduction, Kenneth W. Warren and Adolph Reed Jr. Part I: Emancipation, Reconstruction, and Retrenchment Introduction Chapter 1: Frederick Douglass's Life and Times: Progressive Rhetoric and the Problem of Constituency, Kenneth W. Warren Chapter 2: "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others": The Political Economy of Racism in the United States, Judith Stein Part II: The Jim Crow Era Introduction Chapter 3: How Black "Folk" Survived in the Modern South: Industrialization, Popular Culture, and the Transformation of Black Working-Class Leisure in the Jim Crow South, William P. Jones Chapter 4: An inevitable Drift? Oligarchy, Du Bois, and the Politics of Race between the Wars, Kenneth W. Warren Chapter 5: The Educational Alliance and the Urban League in New York: Ethnic Elites and the Politics of Americanization and Racial Uplift, 1903-1932, Toure F. Reed Chapter 6: The Chicago School of Human Ecology and the Ideology of Black Civic Elites, Preston H. Smith II Chapter 7: "What a Pure, Healthy, Unified Race Can Accomplish": Collective Reproduction and the Sexual Politics of Black Nationalism, Michele Mitchell Chapter 8: Black Power Nationalism as Ethnic Pluralism: Postwar Liberalism's Ethnic Paradigm in Black Radicalism, Dean E. Robinson Part III: The Post-Jim Crow Era Introduction Chapter 9: The Postmodern Moment in Black Literary and Cultural Studies, Madhu Dubey Chapter 10: The "Color Line" Then and Now: The Souls of Black Folk and the Changing Context of Black American Politics, Adolph Reed Jr. Conclusion, Kenneth W. Warren and Adolph Reed Jr. Index About the Contributors