Navigating the African Diaspora: The Anthropology of Invisibility
by Donald Martin Carter
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
Paper: 978-0-8166-4778-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8166-4777-4
Library of Congress Classification DT16.5.C38 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.896


Investigating how the fraught political economy of migration impacts people around the world, Donald Martin Carter raises important issues about contemporary African diasporic movements. Developing the notion of the anthropology of invisibility, he explores the trope of navigation in social theory intent on understanding the lived experiences of transnational migrants.


Carter examines invisibility in its various forms, from social rejection and residential segregation to war memorials and the inability of some groups to represent themselves through popular culture, scholarship, or art. The pervasiveness of invisibility is not limited to symbolic actions, Carter shows, but may have dramatic and at times catastrophic consequences for people subjected to its force. The geographic span of his analysis is global, encompassing Senegalese Muslims in Italy and the United States and concluding with practical questions about the future of European societies. Carter also considers both contemporary and historical constellations of displacement, from Darfurian refugees to French West African colonial soldiers.


Whether focusing on historical photographs, television, print media, and graffiti scrawled across urban walls or identifying the critique of colonialism implicit in African films and literature, Carter reveals a protean and peopled world in motion.

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