Laura Chrisman
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Black Atlantic nationalism
Sol Plaatje and W.E.B.Du Bois

This chapter focuses on the black Atlantic nationalism that began in 1993 with the publication of Paul Gilroy's book, The Black Atlantic, whose focus on the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa, Europe and the New World was not original. It discusses the work of Plaatje and Du Bois, which introduce different ways to think about black Atlanticism, as a critical dialogic relationship that questions some of the paradigms for analysis created by Gilroy's book and sustained by a number of Africanists. The cultural values and critical perspectives of black nationalism were ‘antithetical to the rhizomorphic, fractal structure of the transcultural, international formation of the black Atlantic’. As Gilroy's work has travelled from diasporic to African studies, it has gained a new component: the construction of African Americans as a global vanguard, whose role it is to lead continental Africans into modernity. However, Masilela's black Atlantic work presents black modernity as essentially a cultural condition, not a political economic and cultural process.

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Postcolonial contraventions

Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism


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