The personal history of journalist Henri Alleg is tied inextricably to the history of the French-Algerian Conflict. Best known for his book The Question, a first-hand account of his torture by French troops during the Algerian war for independence, Alleg is famous both for having brought the issue of French torture to the public eye and for his passionate work as a writer, a newspaperman, and a communist activist.
Beginning with his arrival in Algiers in 1939, when he fell immediately in love with the vibrant city, to his departure in 1965, after Boumédienne seized power, this is a critical work of history made devastatingly personal. Algerian Memoirs recounts his experience under the Vichy regime and such watershed moments in colonial history as the infamous Battle of Algiers. In these pages, he relives the violence and the summary executions, the communist struggle, and his party’s strained relations with the National Liberation Front. And, of course, he revisits in stark detail his arrest and torture by the French, his years in prison, and eventual escape to Czechoslovakia.
In the telling of his own story, Alleg explores some of the key events in the history of Europe and North Africa and in the history of the radical press. This is an irreplaceable document of colonialism and its tragic aftermath.
Set in the entertainment world in France, this searing memoir explores the realities of being a mixed or biracial French citizen.
In Blind Spot, Myriam Tadessé exposes the difficulty, even the impossibility, for France to truly understand and celebrate the lived realities of mixed or biracial French citizens. What the French word métis—which translates to “half-breed” or “mixed-race”—hides is how central the notion of race actually is in a society that claims to repudiate it. The French film and theater world, in which Tadessé has made her career, appears unable to confront the individuality of the performers. They are required to correspond to categories—often based on race—that don’t allow for biracial identities. This classification not only contradicts France’s asserted ideals but also views as anomalies those who defy ethno-racial assumptions.
Drawing on her personal experiences as a biracial Ethiopian-French woman and her family history, Tadessé explores the realities of life for mixed-race individuals in France through her searing and honest memoir.
As technological innovation and cultural exchange challenge conventional borders, national identities, and notions of the nation-state, scholars have increasingly argued that the traditional concepts of “area” are ideological and political constructs tied to a schema of the world that no longer exists. This special issue of positions: asia critique posits that this “end of area” does not necessarily mean the end of area studies as a discipline. Rather, contributors suggest that “area” has detached itself from the realm of geopolitics and entered into the realm of biopolitics and biopower, which provides an opportunity to reevaluate and remap the goals of area studies. To address that change, this issue centers translation and the biopolitical as new theoretical mechanisms for area studies to order, combine, separate, and classify life. Topics include the concept of “area” itself; the philosophy of translation; reflections on Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, and Edward Said; governmentality and biopower in the time of global capital; and biopolitical management of geocultural areas.
Contributors: Étienne Balibar, Ken C. Kawashima, Sandro Mezzadra, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Naoki Sakai, Shu-Mei Shih, Jon Solomon, Tazaki Hideaki, Gavin Walker
Now available in paperback, William C. Banfield’s acclaimed collection of interviews delves into the lives and work of forty-one Black composers. Each of the profiled artists offers a candid self-portrait that explores areas from training and compositional techniques to working in a exclusive canon that has existed for a very long time. At the same time, Banfield draws on sociology, Western concepts of art and taste, and vernacular musical forms like blues and jazz to provide a frame for the artists’ achievements and help to illuminate the ongoing progress and struggles against industry barriers. Expanded illustrations and a new preface by the author provide invaluable added context, making this new edition an essential companion for anyone interested in Black composers or contemporary classical music.
Composers featured: Michael Abels, H. Leslie Adams, Lettie Beckon Alston, Thomas J. Anderson, Dwight Andrews, Regina Harris Baiocchi, David Baker, William C. Banﬁeld, Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Billy Childs, Noel DaCosta, Anthony Davis, George Duke, Leslie Dunner, Donal Fox, Adolphus Hailstork, Jester Hairston, Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Holland, Anthony Kelley, Wendell Logan, Bobby McFerrin, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Jeffrey Mumford, Gary Powell Nash, Stephen Newby, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Michael Powell, Patrice Rushen, George Russell, Kevin Scott, Evelyn Simpson-Curenton, Hale Smith, Billy Taylor, Frederick C. Tillis, George Walker, James Kimo Williams, Julius Williams, Tony Williams, Olly Wilson, and Michael Woods
In this newest volume in the Medical Humanities Series, T. Doby and G. Alker trace the development of our ability to visualize the inside of the human body.
For thousands of years, horror of the dead, superstition, and oppressive decrees prevented our ancestors from looking inside the human body; in ancient civilizations, diagnostics were based on imagination and theory, with only limited observation. So people developed suppositions about health and disease without knowing how the liver, heart, brain, and blood vessels looked or functioned. In tracing the history of medical imaging, Doby and Alker establish that it was not until the Renaissance and the detailed drawings of human anatomy by da Vinci and Vesalius that successful internal imaging of the human body was born.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray provided the first miraculous look into the living body. From that instant, medical imaging developed at an ever-increasing pace, evolving to more recent discoveries in nuclear medicine, CT scanning, and ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.
As Doby and Alker note, we can expect our efforts to be understood in the future only if we examine past events with an appreciation of the difficulties and challenges that faced our predecessors. Despite almost unbelievable advances in current medical technology, we must still rely on our own resources and common sense as human beings in understanding what technology can and cannot do for us.
A comprehensive set of appendixes pictorially depicting the history of imaging round out the volume.
Now in paperback, a brutal and dreamlike story about the first victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
This powerful novel presents the early days of the transatlantic slave trade from a new perspective: that of the sub-Saharan population that became its first victims. Cameroonian novelist Léonora Miano presents a world on the brink of disappearing—a pre-colonial civilization with roots that stretch back for centuries. One day, a group of villagers finds twelve of their people missing. Where have they gone? Who is responsible? A collective dream, troubling a group of mothers in a communal dwelling, may have some of the answers, as the women’s missing sons call to them in terror; at the same time, a thick shadow settles over the huts, blocking out the light of day. It is the shadow of slavery, which will soon grow to blight the whole world.
Miano renders this brutal story in deliberately strange, dreamlike prose, befitting a situation that is, on its face, all but impossible for the villagers to believe.
One might say that the womb of death—the Middle Passage, slavery, and colonization—gave birth to Black populations. Taking this observation as her point of departure, Nathalie Etoke examines Black existence today in her riveting new book, Shades of Black. In a white supremacist world, Black bodies hold a specific position, invested with a range of meaning that maintains them in a fixed role, with a script they did not write. The white world has invented and defined the Black person according to its own interests, endowing her with a bereaved humanity. The Black person is confronted with an essential paradox—exist as Black or as a human being? Does the Black person exist for herself or for the other? In the white world, is the Black race the embodiment of a sub-humanity?
Situated at the crossroads of three countries—Cameroon, France, and, now, the United States—Nathalie Etoke is uniquely positioned for this polyphonic reflection on race. She examines what happens when race obliterates historical, social, cultural, and political differences among populations of African descent from different parts of the world. Focusing on recent and ongoing topics in the United States, including the murder of George Floyd, police brutality, the complex symbolism of Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, Etoke explores the relations of violence, oppression, dispossession, and inequalities that have brought us here, face to face with these existential questions: Are you breathing? Are we breathing?
In The Sublime Perversion of Capital Gavin Walker examines the Japanese debate about capitalism between the 1920s and 1950s, using it as a "prehistory" to consider current discussions of uneven development and contemporary topics in Marxist theory and historiography. Walker locates the debate's culmination in the work of Uno Kōzō, whose investigations into the development of capitalism and the commodification of labor power are essential for rethinking the national question in Marxist theory. Walker's analysis of Uno and the Japanese debate strips Marxist historiography of its Eurocentric focus, showing how Marxist thought was globalized from the start. In analyzing the little-heralded tradition of Japanese Marxist theory alongside Marx himself, Walker not only offers new insights into the transition to capitalism, the rise of globalization, and the relation between capital and the formation of the nation-state; he provides new ways to break Marxist theory's impasse with postcolonial studies and critical theory.
A searing novel exploring the construction of masculinity in sub-Saharan Africa.
After beating his girlfriend and leaving her for dead on the street, Amok retraces his steps. Frightened by his act, which reproduces the violence of his father, he hopes to save the woman. But it is too late when he arrives at the scene; two women are already carrying the injured woman. Overwhelmed and not daring to reveal himself, he decides to find his father in order to learn how to rid himself of the dark force that he believes runs through the men of his lineage. He embarks on a journey that will be, more than anything, an inner one, forcing him to understand his story and choose a healthier way of being in the world. This second volume of Twilight of Torment is both intimate and political. Through the story of a man and his family, we discover an African bourgeoisie and its many social wanderings in a contemporary Africa whose future seems nebulous.
A haunting, multivocal novel full of stories of the lives of women of African descent.
Four women speak. They speak to the same man, who is not there. He is the son of the first, the great-yet-impossible love of the second, the platonic companion of the third, the older brother of the last. Speaking to him in his absence, it is to themselves that these women turn, examining their own stories to make sense of their journey, from twilight to twilight, through a mysterious stormy night in the middle of the dry season.
Together, the voices in Twilight of Torment: Melancholy, the first volume of a two-volume novel, perform a powerful and sometimes discordant jazz-inspired chorus about issues such as femininity, sexuality, self-love, and the intrusion of history into the intimate lives of people of African descent. Blackness confronts African-ness, love is sometimes discovered in the arms of another woman, the African renaissance tries to establish itself on the rubble of self-esteem damaged by history. Each of these women, with her own language and rhythm, ultimately represents a specific aspect of the tormented history of Africans in today’s world, and at the end of the night, they will each arrive at a dawn of hope.