Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, Edition 2

Univ of North Carolina Press
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In this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of change and resistance. Black radicalism must be linked to the traditions of Africa and the unique experiences of blacks on western continents, Robinson argues, and any analyses of African American history need to acknowledge this.

To illustrate his argument, Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright.

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About the author

Cedric J. Robinson (1940-2016) was professor of Black Studies and political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include The Terms of Order, Black Movements in America, and Anthropology of Marxism.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of North Carolina Press
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Published on
Oct 12, 2005
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780807876121
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
Winner of the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize

On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto—a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck.

In this sweeping and original account, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot comprehend the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the ghettos of Europe, as well as earlier efforts to understand the problems of the American city.

Ghetto is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. As Duneier shows, their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem’s slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada’s efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.

Duneier offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty—and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new estimation of an age-old concept.

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