Intellectual History Panels at ASALH

We at AAIHS are excited about the upcoming annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History next week in Memphis. Below are some panels on African American intellectual history that may be particularly appealing to our readers. [Continue Reading...]

Haiti, Hip-Hop, & Hypermasculinity

B.. Rabbit and Papa Doc

B.. Rabbit and Papa Doc

8 Mile opens to a sinister beat and a haunting dedication to “all the killers and a hundred dollar billers.” Even casual hip-hop fans immediately recognize the song as Mobb Deep’s iconic “Shook Ones (Part II).” They also quickly identify the actor from whose headphones the song emanates. Marshall Mathers plays “Bunny Rabbit,” an aspiring rapper whose struggles mimic those that plagued Mathers before he became a Grammy-winning artist better known as Eminem. In the opening scene, for instance, the anticipation of an upcoming rap battle causes “Rabbit” to vomit on himself. The would-be rapper is clearly not yet a “killer.” Instead, he is the pretender mocked by Mobb Deep—“scared to death, scared to look . . . he ain’t a crook son, he’s just a shook one.” [Continue Reading...]

The South was Good Enough


“They lived from the inside out, fashioning and developing a value system that Whites could neither constrict or control. For them, as for Hurston, [Black] life was more than a response to White injustice. They lived by their own yardstick and … [Continue reading]

Review of Jonathan Scott Holloway, Jim Crow Wisdom


Today's guest post is a book review by Hettie Williams, Ph.D. candidate at Drew University and lecturer in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University. Johnathan Scott Holloway, Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory & Identity in Black … [Continue reading]

The failure of liberalism in the era of emancipation


James Oakes, an historian whose work I very much admire, recently wrote two pieces for Jacobin taking issue with the ways “historians” treat Republicanism, slavery, and emancipation. In one, he claims that historians have constructed a narrative of … [Continue reading]

The Social Origins of Black Respectability

Several recent posts have directly or indirectly discussed how or why the idea of respectability has played a significant and complicated role in black thought and politics. A quick search of the Oxford English Dictionary notes the evolution of the … [Continue reading]

Author Interview: Ytasha L. Womack on Afrofuturism


Today I interview Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture and Rayla 2212. Cameron: What led you to write Afrofuturism? Womack: I’ve met many Afrofuturists over the years who didn’t know they were … [Continue reading]

Black Feminist…or Just Feminist?


  Despite the many debates over Beyoncé's claim to feminism, the pop star boldly cleared up any questions when she stood on stage before the brightly lit word "FEMINIST" during her 15-minute performance at MTV's VMA show on August 24, … [Continue reading]

The Politics of Pleasure and the Smell of Desire

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I like your weight. The slim, pecan shell-colored gentleman softly declared his appreciation of my figure. He spoke firmly, but gently, as his dark eyes beheld mine own. He had deftly mastered that complicated balance of respect, clarity, and male … [Continue reading]

August Links and News


Protests against police brutality in Ferguson, MO and other areas of the United States have dominated the news over the past couple weeks and produced a number of important reflections on race, citizenship, political tactics, and respectability … [Continue reading]