Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Black History Month Reading

February is Black History Month and in honor of the month’s observances, we’ve highlighted 10 titles from our African American Studies list. From racial profiling in the so-called "black belt," racial expressions of anger, and desegregation to black superheroes, and how “blackness” is imagined in science fiction films, here are a few select titles to enrich your reading life:
New Books

Black-Brown Solidarity
Racial Politics in the New Gulf South
By John D. Márquez

An eye-opening study of the new coalitions between Latinos and African Americans emerging throughout the Gulf South, where previously divided ethnicities are forging an unprecedented challenge to white hegemony.

On Anger
Race, Cognition, Narrative
By Sue Kim

Opening a stimulating dialogue between cognitive studies and cultural studies, On Anger uses narratives such as the film Crash, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and the HBO series The Wire to argue that race is central to our conceptions and experiences of anger.

In Popular Culture

Disney's Most Notorious Film
Race, Convergence, and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South
By Jason Sperb

Analyzing histories of film reception, convergence, and race relations over seven decades, this pioneering book undertakes a superb, multifaceted reading of one of Hollywood’s most notorious films, Disney’s Song of the South.

"... Disney's Most Notorious Film... does more than dissect a film and the pros and cons around it. In its own way, it reveals that Song of the South, more or less by accident, holds a mirror to American views on race, with beauty or the lack thereof completely in the eyes of the beholder."—Mark Reynolds, PopMatters

Super Black
American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes
By Adilifu Nama

An exploration of black superheroes as a fascinating racial phenomenon and a powerful source of racial meaning, narrative, and imagination in American society.

"Adilifu Nama's Super Black does a great job of introducing many of today's comic book fans with the history of African Americans in comic books and pop culture generally….Super Black is a short, yet illuminating analysis of Black Superheroes and race relations, primarily in the 2-D world…. as a short book, it does one hell of a good job."—Tony Pecinovsky, People’s World

Black Space
Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film
By Adilifu Nama

Analyzing many of the most popular and influential science fiction films of the past five decades, this book presents the most comprehensive work to date on how race and “blackness” are imagined in science fiction film.

“…I can think of no work by a single author that presents such sustained, 'cover to cover' discussion of this vital and underexplored area in black representation."—Ed Guerrero, New York University, author of Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film

Civil Rights

Flames after Midnight
Murder, Vengeance, and the Desolation of a Texas Community, Revised Edition
By Monte Akers

Now updated with a shocking deathbed confession and a touching account of reconciliation, here is the engrossing story of a 1922 lynching followed by a racially motivated reign of terror and the devastating effects both had on a small Texas town.

"Flames after Midnight vividly captures [a] culture in all its repugnance, exploring the tenor of the times and delving into the character of the story's central figures. While it cannot by its nature be pleasant to read, it is a well-written and compelling history that in its scope extends beyond Kirven [Texas]. Akers holds up a mirror so that we see ourselves, in historical retrospect, at our worst."—USA Today

Before Brown
Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice
By Gary M. Lavergne

The inspiring story of the courageous Houston mailman whose struggle to attend the University of Texas School of Law provided the precedent for the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that ended segregation in public education.

Before Brown was awarded both the 2010 Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History from the Texas State Historical Association and the 2011 Carr P. Collins Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Desegregating Texas Schools
Eisenhower, Shivers, and the Crisis at Mansfield High
By Robyn Duff Ladino
Foreword by Alwyn Barr

The first full account of the Mansfield, Texas school integration crisis of 1956.


Acting Up and Getting Down
Plays by African American Texans
By Sandra M. Mayo and Elvin Holt

A collection of seven compelling plays from award-winning Texas writers, spanning turning points in history, intergenerational struggles, and cultural triumphs while exploring the complexity of African American life from a dazzling array of perspectives.

Cosmopolitan Minds
Literature, Emotion, and the Transnational Imagination
By Alexa Weik von Mossner

Reading transnational American literature from a cognitive perspective, this book argues that our emotional engagements with others–real and imagined–are crucially important for the development of cosmopolitan imaginations.

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