This black history month, UIP is joining the #ReadingBlackout challenge and we want you to too! The Reading Blackout challenge was created by YouTuber Denise D. Cooper and it’s a call to prioritize reading books by African American authors during 2018. To celebrate the #ReadingBlackout challenge we’ll be releasing reading lists all month long and adding the books to our Little Free Library at the Illini Union! This list is just a teaser for the black history books we’re adding to our Little Free Library this week, so make sure to stop by and check out the rest!
Here are 7 books on African American media and culture to add to your #ReadingBlackout list:
Stephane Dunn offers close examination of a distinct moment in the history of African American representation in popular cinema, tracing its emergence out of a radical political era, influenced especially by the Black Power movement and feminism. Dunn also engages blaxploitation’s impact and lingering aura in contemporary hip-hop culture as suggested by its disturbing gender politics and the “baad bitch daughters” of Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones, rappers Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim.
This insightful study places African American women’s stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. Interpreting each woman’s celebrity as predicated on a brand of charismatic authority, Mia Mask shows how these female stars have deftly negotiated the uneven terrain of racial, gender, and class stereotypes. As international celebrities, these women have ultimately complicated the conventional discursive and industrial practices through which blackness and womanhood have been represented in commercial cinema, independent film, and network TV.
Margo Natalie Crawford compares the black avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s Black Arts Movement with the most innovative spins of twenty-first century black aesthetics. Crawford zooms in on the 1970s second wave of the Black Arts Movement and shows the connections between this final wave of the Black Arts movement and the early years of twenty-first century black aesthetics. She uncovers the circle of black post-blackness that pivots on the power of anticipation, abstraction, mixed media, the global South, satire, public interiority, and the fantastic.
Like Harlem, Chicago had become a major destination for black southern migrants. Unlike Harlem, Chicago was also an urban industrial center that gave a unique working-class and internationalist perspective to the cultural work being done in Chicago. Edited by Darlene Clark Hine and John McClusky Jr., This collection’s various essays discuss the forces that distinguished the Black Chicago Renaissance from the Harlem Renaissance and place the development of black culture in a national and international context.
Lynching plays were read aloud or acted out by black church members, schoolchildren, and families. Koritha Mitchell shows that African Americans performed and read the scripts in community settings to certify to each other that lynching victims were not the isolated brutes that dominant discourses made them out to be. Instead, the play scripts often described victims as honorable heads of households being torn from model domestic units by white violence.
Katrina Hazzard-Donald explores African Americans’ experience and practice of the herbal, healing folk belief tradition known as Hoodoo. She examines Hoodoo culture and history by tracing its emergence from African traditions to religious practices in the Americas. Working against conventional scholarship, Hazzard-Donald argues that Hoodoo emerged first in three distinct regions she calls “regional Hoodoo clusters” and that after the turn of the nineteenth century, Hoodoo took on a national rather than regional profile.
In this significant recovery project, Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach investigates the institutions and streetscapes of Black Chicago that fueled an entire literary and artistic movement. She argues that African American authors and artists–such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, painter Archibald Motley, and many others–viewed and presented black reality from a specific geographic vantage point: the view along the streets of Bronzeville.