Cultures in Babylon : Black Britain and African America / Hazel V. Carby.

by Carby, Hazel VLooking glass.

Series: Haymarket: Publisher: London : Verso, 1999.Description: vi,282 pages ; 24cm.ISBN: 185984281X.Subject(s): African American women -- Intellectual life -- 20th centuryLooking glass | African Americans -- Intellectual life -- 20th centuryLooking glass | Blacks -- Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 20th century | Women, Black -- Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 20th centuryNote: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 305.8 CAR (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 40892360
Long loan London College of Fashion
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Printed books 305.8 CAR (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 93210167
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

For a decade and a half, since she first appeared in the Birmingham Centre's collective volume The Empire Strikes Back , Hazel Carby has been on the frontline of the debate over multicultural education in Britain and the US. This book brings together her most important and influential essays, ranging over such topics as the necessity for racially diverse school curricula, the construction of literary canons, Zora Neale Hurston's portraits of "the Folk," C.L.R. James and Trinidadian nationalism and black women blues artists, and the necessity for racially diverse school curricula.

Carby's analyses of diverse aspects of contemporary culture are invariably sharp and provocative, her political insights shrewd and often against the grain. A powerful intervention, Culture in Babylon will become a standard reference point in future debates over race, ethnicity and gender.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction (p. 1)
  • Women, Migration and the Formation of a Blues Culture
  • 1 The Sexual Politics of Women's Blues (p. 7)
  • 2 Policing the Black Woman's Body in an Urban Context (p. 22)
  • 3 Black Women's Blues, Motown and Rock and Roll (p. 40)
  • 4 They Put a Spell on You (p. 51)
  • Black Feminist Interventions
  • 5 White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood (p. 67)
  • 6 Race and the Academy: Feminism and the Politics of Difference (p. 93)
  • 7 National Nightmares: The Liberal Bourgeoisie and Racial Anxiety (p. 100)
  • 8 America Inc. -- The Crisis at Yale: A Tale of Two Women (p. 116)
  • Fictions of the Folk
  • 9 Reinventing History/Imagining the Future (p. 129)
  • 10 Proletarian or Revolutionary Literature? C.L.R. James and the Politics of the Trinidadian Renaissance (p. 135)
  • 11 Ideologies of Black Folk: The Historical Novel of Slavery (p. 146)
  • 12 On Zora Neale Hurston's Seraph on the Suwanee (p. 160)
  • 13 The Politics of Fiction, Anthropology and the Folk: Zora Neale Hurston (p. 168)
  • Dispatches from the Multicultural Wars
  • 14 Schooling in Babylon (p. 189)
  • 15 Multiculture (p. 219)
  • 16 The Racism behind the Rioting (p. 229)
  • 17 The Blackness of Theory (p. 232)
  • 18 The Canon: Civil War and Reconstruction (p. 237)
  • 19 The Multicultural Wars, Part One (p. 245)
  • 20 The Multicultural Wars, Part Two (p. 256)
  • 21 Imagining Black Men: The Politics of Cultural Identity (p. 264)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 273)
  • Index (p. 275)

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Hazel V. Carby is a British-born critic of African American literature. Stuart Hall and other scholars affiliated with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in England where she studied during the 1970s informed her work. In Reconstructing Womanhood (1987), Carby focuses on the fiction and journalism of African American women writing from the mid-to-late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. She demonstrates that African American women of that period articulated a distinctive black feminist discourse and politics in response to the sexism of American culture and the racism of the white feminist movements that arose to combat that sexism. She suggests that the racism of white feminist theory has resulted from a failure to see whiteness as a racial (and historical) category, rather than as a universal (and ahistorical) norm. The latter, Carby claims, would guarantee that all women, regardless of differences of race, are "sisters in struggle" because they share an essential femininity or experience of oppression.

Carby urges African American feminists to avoid the same mistake by assuming that all African American women share some universal experience of black femininity and oppression that is expressed in the black female literary tradition as a black female aesthetic. The production of an essential black literary tradition or literary aesthetic always necessitates the suppression of differences, including the different aesthetics that may arise in response to different experiences and histories. Carby argues that the current African American literary canon is the product of just such a suppression, because it highlights texts that focus on and even romanticize black southern, rural culture at the expense of northern, urban, working- and middle-class black culture. She calls for a reevaluation of the output of such authors as Nella Larsen and Jessie Redmond Fauset, whose work has been dismissed or ignored because it does not participate in the perpetuation of the myth of "the folk."

(Bowker Author Biography)

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