Black internationalist feminism : women writers of the Black left, 1945-1995 / Cheryl Higashida.

by Higashida, Cheryl [author.]Looking glass.

Publisher: Urbana, Illinois : University of Illinois Press, [2011]Description: xi, 250 pages ; 23 cm.ISBN: 9780252079641.Subject(s): American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticismLooking glass | American literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism | Feminism and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th centuryLooking glass | Women radicals -- United States -- History -- 20th century | African American women -- Intellectual life -- 20th centuryLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Long loan Camberwell College of Arts
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Long loan London College of Communication
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Black Internationalist Feminism examines how African American women writers affiliated themselves with the post-World War II Black Communist Left and developed a distinct strand of feminism. This vital yet largely overlooked feminist tradition built upon and critically retheorized the postwar Left's "nationalist internationalism," which connected the liberation of Blacks in the United States to the liberation of Third World nations and the worldwide proletariat. Black internationalist feminism critiques racist, heteronormative, and masculinist articulations of nationalism while maintaining the importance of national liberation movements for achieving Black women's social, political, and economic rights. Cheryl Higashida shows how Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Rosa Guy, Audre Lorde, and Maya Angelou worked within and against established literary forms to demonstrate that nationalist internationalism was linked to struggles against heterosexism and patriarchy. Exploring a diverse range of plays, novels, essays, poetry, and reportage, Higashida illustrates how literature is a crucial lens for studying Black internationalist feminism because these authors were at the forefront of bringing the perspectives and problems of black women to light against their marginalization and silencing. In examining writing by Black Left women from 1945-1995, Black Internationalist Feminism contributes to recent efforts to rehistoricize the Old Left, Civil Rights, Black Power, and second-wave Black women's movements.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  • Introduction. Black Internationalist Feminism: A Definition (p. 1)
  • 1 The Negro Question, the Woman Question, and the "Vital Link": Histories and Institutions (p. 31)
  • 2 Lorraine Hansberry's Existentialist Routes to Black Internationalist Feminism (p. 57)
  • 3 Rosalind on the Black Star Line: Alice Childress, Black Minstrelsy, and Garveyite Drag (p. 82)
  • 4 Rosa Guy, Haiti, and the Hemispheric Woman (p. 112)
  • 5 Audre Lorde Revisited: Nationalism and Second-Wave Black Feminism (p. 134)
  • 6 Reading Maya Angelou, Reading Black Internationalist Feminism Today (p. 158)
  • Notes (p. 177)
  • Bibliography (p. 223)
  • Index (p. 243)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


In this groundbreaking study, Higashida (Univ. of Colorado) rethinks issues surrounding select African American women writers, their political and social activism (specifically their concerns about oppression and global human rights), and their literary works. Starting with the black Left movement that followed WW II and progressing through the 1970s resurgence of black women writers to the present, the author analyzes the work of writers such as Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Rosa Guy, and Maya Angelou. At the same time, she explores women's engagement with feminist and political issues in a way that invites readers to challenge traditionally held beliefs about what these women's works mean. This unique study opens up fascinating new areas of discussion in feminism (both national and global), literary studies, and political history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. T. L. Stowell Adrian College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Cheryl Higashida is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder.