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Justin A. Joyce

Recalling the insurrectionary violence that descended upon the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, reflecting on the baser instincts left unchecked in America by an absence of common communication and a paradigmatic shift in our media apparatuses, Justin A. Joyce introduces the seventh volume of James Baldwin Review.

James Baldwin Review
Ernest L. Gibson III

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin, Teju Cole, and Glenn Ligon
Monika Gehlawat

This essay uses Edward Said’s theory of affiliation to consider the relationship between James Baldwin and contemporary artists Teju Cole and Glenn Ligon, both of whom explicitly engage with their predecessor’s writing in their own work. Specifically, Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village” (1953) serves a through-line for this discussion, as it is invoked in Cole’s essay “Black Body” and Ligon’s visual series, also titled Stranger in the Village. In juxtaposing these three artists, I argue that they express the dialectical energy of affiliation by articulating ongoing concerns of race relations in America while distinguishing themselves from Baldwin in terms of periodization, medium-specificity, and their broader relationship to Western art practice. In their adoption of Baldwin, Cole and Ligon also imagine a way beyond his historical anxieties and writing-based practice, even as they continue to reinscribe their own work with his arguments about the African-American experience. This essay is an intermedial study that reads fiction, nonfiction, language-based conceptual art and mixed media, as well as contemporary politics and social media in order consider the nuances of the African-American experience from the postwar period to our contemporary moment. Concerns about visuality/visibility in the public sphere, narrative voice, and self-representation, as well as access to cultural artifacts and aesthetic engagement, all emerge in my discussion of this constellation of artists. As a result, this essay identifies an emblematic, though not exclusive, strand of African-American intellectual thinking that has never before been brought together. It also demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Baldwin’s thinking for the contemporary political scene in this country.

James Baldwin Review
Corinne Fowler

order to explore the obstacles faced by black and Asian writers, this chapter initially takes the example of Joe Pemberton’s novel Forever and Ever Amen (2000), discussed in an earlier essay published in 2008, before considering how such problems are amplified and complicated for poets, whose work is by definition a noncommercial literary form. This chapter considers the prospects for the next generation of British black and British Asian poets in the light of significant changes that are affecting the publishing industry, including the rise of social media, the

in Postcolonial Manchester
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Translative comparative poetics
Daniel C. Remein

the filth of their evil’. See Baraka, ‘State/meant’, p. 169. 117 Bernstein, A poetics , p. 5. The pretense to universality is further belied by the very impossibility of staking out a functional ‘public’ space’ (p. 5). Since 1992, the material dynamics of social-media capitalism and its deployment by Trumpism have only thrown these conditions into further relief

in The heat of Beowulf
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A cultural practice

Drawing on materials from the medieval period to the twenty-first century, Reading: a cultural practice explores how concepts of reading change according to historical and social context. Combining a history of reading with insights drawn from critical theory, the book argues that reading is always implicated in ideology, and that reading is especially linked to religious and educational structures. Examining a variety of texts and genres, including books of hours, Victorian fiction, the art and literature of the Bloomsbury Group, and contemporary social media sites, the opening chapters give an overview of the history of reading from the classical period onwards. The discussion then focuses on the following key concepts: close reading, the common reader, reading and postmodernism, reading and technology. The book uses these areas to set in motion a larger discussion about the relationship between professional and non-professional forms of reading. Standing up for the reader’s right to read in any way that they like, the book argues that academia’s obsession with textual interpretation bears little relationship to the way that most non-academic readers engage with written language. As well as analysing pivotal moments in the history of reading, the book puts pre-twentieth-century concepts of reading into dialogue with insights derived from post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction. This means that as well as providing a history of reading, the book analyses such major preoccupations in reading theory as reading’s relation to visual culture, how reading is taught in schools, and feminist and queer reading practices.

Open Access (free)
White fragility and black social death
Ylva Habel

capture, without knowing what is going to happen next. The imagery of the film encourages intimate identification with the white boys’ situation, the camera lingering on their fearful faces as they are subjected to threats and gratuitous and capricious cruelties from the black boys. Black people and people of colour, who until then had often been held back by unacknowledged, unofficial, and hidden forms of censorship, spoke up on social media and blogs to critique Play. Earlier, examples of public media engagement in anti-​racism and racist stereotypes were more far

in The power of vulnerability
Anu Koivunen
Katariina Kyrölä
, and
Ingrid Ryberg

this vulnerability is shared, and by whom? Why is #MeToo having an impact only now, with wealthy and often white cis-​women in Hollywood at the forefront of the movement, when the issue of sexual abuse and assault has been a key struggle in feminist, women of colour, and trans activisms for such a long time? What part does social media play in the successes and failures of activist efforts such as #MeToo, and how does it relate to broader media histories of addressing and representing painful issues and marginalised people? One of the keys to the success of the

in The power of vulnerability
Vincent Quinn

electronic form than on paper. It is true that many kinds of reading only occur on screens – checking social media sites would be an example of this – but novel reading is shared between print culture and electronic culture. After an initial surge in the sales of both e-books and e-readers in the first decade of the twenty-first century, sales of both have levelled off. By the end of the second decade of the century, sales of print books were increasing year on year, while the market share of e-books was going down; significantly, the resurgence of print publishing seems

in Reading
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John Kinsella

. ‘Rebellion’ suggests a moment (that social-media burst of un-thought-out response that leads to chaotic action without focus, consistency or longevity), an aggressive reaction to aggression that will yield little other than earth people’s frustration. I call this ‘the buzz’ – and once the buzz diminishes, people wander back to their flatscreens, their new phones, their consumerism. Change will come from non-violent direct action merged with language action merged with cultural and identity and gender-respect merged with thinking

in Beyond Ambiguity