want to read.
Sherri L. Smith
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
SHE ALSO HAS A NEW BOOK OUT?!??!?!?!!?! SCREEECHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
On the reading list.
“1997 John H. Dunning Prize in United States History, American Historical Association
Honorable Mention, 1996 Berkshire Conference Book Prize
Kathleen Brown examines the origins of racism and slavery in British North America from the perspective of gender. Both a basic social relationship and a model for other social hierarchies, gender helped determine the construction of racial categories and the institution of slavery in Virginia. But the rise of racial slavery also transformed gender relations, including ideals of masculinity. In response to the presence of Indians, the shortage of labor, and the insecurity of social rank, Virginia’s colonial government tried to reinforce its authority by regulating the labor and sexuality of English servants and by making legal distinctions between English and African women. This practice, along with making slavery hereditary through the mother, contributed to the cultural shift whereby women of African descent assumed from lower-class English women both the burden of fieldwork and the stigma of moral corruption. Brown’s analysis extends through Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, an important juncture in consolidating the colony’s white male public culture, and into the eighteenth century. She demonstrates that, despite elite planters’ dominance, wives, children, free people of color, and enslaved men and women continued to influence the meaning of race and class in colonial Virginia.”
About the Author
Kathleen M. Brown is associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jayna Brown’s excellent monograph tackles the concept of transatlantic modernity through the traveling, singing, and dancing bodies of black women performers in the early twentieth century. Brown’s extensive research frames these women’s bodies against literature and drama, European primitivism, and colonialism (2). In so doing, Brown resists offering a recuperative history of these performing black women’s bodies. Instead, she troubles the epistemologies that situate the body and performance outside of history-making. Ultimately, Brown demonstrates how the transatlantic movement of black expressive cultures undergirds any discussion of modernity.
In her groundbreaking study, Brown carefully demonstrates how these black women performers reclaimed their bodies through performance and mobility—bodies that were ideologically, historically, and often physically ravaged by racialist thinking, the legacies of slavery, imperialism, and patriarchy. Although marginalized, these black women’s performances came to represent American ideals. As Brown clearly states, “the creative artistry of a nation’s most beleaguered and disenfranchised citizens came to represent that nation’s most prized claims to freedom, equality, and opportunity”(8).Through an examination ofabroad range of vernacular forms—includingvaudeville, minstrelsy, musicals, burlesque, and cabaret—Brown shows how such performances speak to the constructed and negotiated nature of race, issues about racial or cultural authenticity, subjectivity, and individual agency. Within the book’s pages lie the performances and transnational choreographies of Ada Overton Walker, Florence Mills, Josephine Baker, Valaida Snow, Belle Davis, Ida Forsyne and other women whose workarticulated ways to consider how subjectivity is inextricably linked to raced and gendered embodied experiences.
The Black Jacobins
C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins, first published in 1938, was a forbidden book in South Africa until the recent dismantling of apartheid. It’s not hard to see why. James researched his account of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian slave uprising with meticulous care. It remains a masterpiece of historical scholarship, but the book was designed to be a weapon for revolutionary combat. James wrote it while active in the International African Service Bureau — the organization founded by his childhood friend George Padmore, the godfather of Pan-Africanism. By narrating “the first successful slave revolt in history,” he meant to provide a tool kit of ideas and information for future liberation movements. Apartheid’s censors knew what they were doing when they banned the book.
Six years before a white Pennsylvanian named Bill Haley recorded “Rock Around the Clock,” Roy Brown, a black singer and song writer from New Orleans, wrote “Good Rockin’ Tonight” as a radio jingle for a whorehouse. Haley and Elvis Presley, who recorded Brown’s song, are enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while Brown, who died in 1981, remains without the honor. Brown’s story is just one stop on music journalist’s Lauterbach’s rollicking history of forgotten promoters and performers on the loosely organized chain of dance halls, juke joints, and night clubs catering to black audiences—it became known as the chitlin’ circuit because chitterlings, the intestines of pigs, were a popular delicacy. Lauterbach’s writing is as energetic as a Little Richard song (a performer who started on the chitlin’ circuit and crossed over to national fame), although he falls victim to his own enthusiasm and loses momentum in an attempt to recount a litany of figures. Regardless, Lauterbach’s first book is a rocking read and a deserving tribute to the people and places who were the foundations of rock and roll.
In this provocative and original exploration of racial subjugation during slavery and its aftermath, Saidiya Hartman illumines the forms of terror and resistance that shaped black identity. Scenes of Subjection examines the forms of domination that usually go undetected; in particular, the encroachments of power that take place through notions of humanity, enjoyment, protection, rights, and consent. By looking at slave narratives, plantation diaries, popular theater, slave performance, freedmen’s primers, and legal cases, Hartman investigates a wide variety of “scenes” ranging from the auction block and minstrel show to the staging of the self-possessed and rights-bearing individual of freedom. While attentive to the performance of power—the terrible spectacles of slaveholders’ dominion and the innocent amusements designed to abase and pacify the enslaved—and the entanglements of pleasure and terror in these displays of mastery, Hartman also examines the possibilities for resistance, redress and transformation embodied in black performance and everyday practice. This important study contends that despite the legal abolition of slavery, emergent notions of individual will and responsibility revealed the tragic continuities between slavery and freedom. Bold and persuasively argued, Scenes of Subjection will engage readers in a broad range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.
To Read: Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women’s Writing, 1930-1990
The story of southern writing—the Dixie Limited, if you will—runs along an iron path: an official narrative of a literature about community, about place and the past, about miscegenation, white patriarchy, and the epic of race. Patricia Yaeger dynamites the rails, providing an entirely new set of categories through which to understand southern literature and culture.
For Yaeger, works by black and white southern women writers reveal a shared obsession with monstrosity and the grotesque and with the strange zones of contact between black and white, such as the daily trauma of underpaid labor and the workings of racial and gender politics in the unnoticed yet all too familiar everyday. Yaeger also excavates a southern fascination with dirt—who owns it, who cleans it, and whose bodies are buried in it.
Yaeger’s brilliant, theoretically informed readings of Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, and Eudora Welty (among many others) explode the mystifications of southern literary tradition and forge a new path for southern studies.