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The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness
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The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  596 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Afrocentrism. Eurocentrism. Caribbean Studies. British Studies. To the forces of cultural nationalism hunkered down in their camps, this bold hook sounds a liberating call. There is, Paul Gilroy tells us, a culture that is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once, a black Atlantic culture whose themes and techniques transcend ethn ...more
Paperback, 261 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Harvard University Press (first published 1993)
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This is one of those books you wish you could have read when it first came out. I know Gilroy's been done to death, and the term "black Atlantic" doesn't have quite as much academic suction as it used to, but the transnationalism espoused by this book is a must read for anyone involved in the study of humanities (not to mention its retheorizing). What I most enjoyed were Gilroy's reclamation of forgotten corners of scholarship. His views on Richard Wright's European labors were especially refres ...more
Right now no book is influencing my thinking and scholarship as much as this one.

A must-read for people interested in African-American Studies, Caribbean Studies, studies of popular music, Transnational Americas, the African Diaspora, post-colonial studies or anything like that.
While the overall concept of "the black Atlantic" was quite innovative and helpful to approaching issues of transnational culture, this book was difficult to get through due to dense language and its rich diversity of cultural resources: popular music, black intellectuals' biographies, literature, etc. The basic concept takes issue with racial constructions of culture defined by national boundaries. As the 17th and 18th centuries' slave trade broke down national borders for Africans who were tra ...more
Employing literary techniques to critique the nationalist and ethnic focus of cultural studies, Gilroy analyzes a range of texts, authors, and artists as seemingly discordant as W.E.B. Du Bois and Jimi Hendrix, Richard Wright and 2 Live Crew, revealing not only the significant black intellectual history and role of black slavery and oppression that have fueled modernity despite being largely absent from the academic record, but also the inescapable hybridity, instability, and continual change of ...more
Gilroy is seen by some as the guy who reminded Cultural Studies that race is essential to consider when analyzing culture. His argument is that Black culture is an inherently diasporic beast, and his book underlines the ways in which seemingly nationalistic developments were always already influenced by transatlantic cultural flows. He emphasizes how Black culture also borrows from but never entirely adopts Western culture, making it a kind of countercultural movement, and works to demonstrate h ...more
This book opens up my mind about the Atlantic diaspora and the slavery in general, and the culture resulting from both situation. Very interesting!
U. Teresa
Great but dense! I read it for class, so my copy has lots of marginalia! It is a must read for critical race theory and the like.
The relation of intersecting global African Diaspora communities to 'double consciousness' seemed to get lost in his discourse of Black cultures. I've decided, however to read all of Richard Wright.
good book, whose central thesis needs to be expanded to truly be a great book. Gilroy said it was heuristic in nature and a setting of the stage for future theoretical developments. These will have to include a holistic approach of the black atlanic that does not just talk about the USA, and the anglophone caribbean but includes the black histories and narrartives of the hispanophone carribbean, brazil, and the rest of south america.
(Gilroy is illuminary in his treatment of black music)
Justin Evans
Surely the worst book ever written about a great idea. The chapter on Wright was pretty good, the chapter on Dubois and 'Hegel' possibly the worst I've ever read, mainly because Gilroy seems to have followed the Althusser approach to analysis of philosophical argument, that is, not reading the book (Hegel's Phenomenology) he's talking about. Vastly influential, unreadable and unconvincing- but that central idea was a great one.
Fantastic analytical work on the African diaspora by an English scholar, Paul Gilroy. Highly intense, requiring a bit more than a basic understanding of the African slave trade. Not a book for the casual reader, but for those looking at understanding modern racial relations need search no longer.
brilliant. this book changed the way i understand racism, modernity, hybridity and diaspora. a great reworking of the heavies: w.e.b. dubois and richard wright. gilroy makes connections and opens avenues of inquiry that are exhilirating.
Read this for my undergraduate History thesis. His discussion of authenticity as measured as the distance from codes of minstrrelsy was particularly salient to my discussion of Paul Robeson as a performer.
A must-have.
The cornerstone of recent post-colonial studies, opening the way to such books as the "Many Headed Hydra" from Linebaugh & Rediker.
Patrick Chappell
A cool look at circum-Atlantic culture, though Gilroy's writing style is meandering and ambiguous too often. Brilliant content, frustrating style.
See my review of There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack. Paul Gilroy is just brilliant.
The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness by Paul Gilroy (1993)
canonical. meandering. frustrating.

i know i'll revisit this later.
Jan 24, 2009 Daniel is currently reading it
This is a difficult read.
Talk about diaspora...!
Sep 24, 2010 Holly added it
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