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Palgrave Macmillan

Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies

A Critical Anthology

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Offers new ways of considering archive, method, geography, and temporality to inform the study and practice of black political struggle over time
  • Contributors address phenomena in Africa, Europe, and the Americas from a variety of disciplinary perspectives ranging from literature to history, anthropology to dance, and beyond
  • Interrogates to what extent black lives drove cultural and political developments and in spaces throughout a wider Atlantic world

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About this book

Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies brings into conversation two fields—Early Modern Studies and Black Studies—that traditionally have had little to say to each other. This disconnect is the product of current scholarly assumptions about a lack of archival evidence that limits what we can say about those of African descent before modernity. This volume posits that the limitations are not in the archives, but in the methods we have constructed for locating and examining those archives. The essays that make up this volume offer new critical approaches to black African agency and the conceptualization of blackness in early modern literary works, historical documents, material and visual cultures, and performance culture. Ultimately, this critical anthology revises current understandings about racial discourse and the cultural contributions of black Africans in early modernity and in the present across the globe.

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Early Modern Black Lives Matter: A Critical Roundtable


“Black-inflected review of texts and contexts in the early modern period affords us a healthy point of departure for reassessing the field as it has been constructed. The anthology will continue the work of opening up different perspectives on the contradictions, omissions, and effacements of the world we have inherited, and provide a fuller understanding of how it came to be.” (Jerome C. Branche, Bulletin of the Comediantes, Vol. 73 (2), 2021)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of English, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA

    Cassander L. Smith

  • Department of Spanish, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA

    Nicholas R. Jones

  • Department of English, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, USA

    Miles P. Grier

About the editors

Cassander L. Smith is Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama, USA. Her publications include a monograph, Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Narratives of the Early Atlantic World (2016), and a co-edited volume, Teaching with Tension: Race, Reality, and Resistance in the Classroom (forthcoming).

Nicholas R. Jones is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Africana Studies at Bucknell University, USA. His publications include the forthcoming monograph Staging Habla de negros: Radical Performances of the African Diaspora in Early Modern Spain and articles in the Journal for Early Modern Cultural StudiesArizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, and Hispanic Review, among others.

Miles P. Grier is Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, USA. He is finishing a book manuscript on Othello and the racialization of Atlantic literacy. His publications include essays in The William and Mary QuarterlyPolitics and Culture, and The Journal of Popular Music Studies, among others.

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