Black Nationalism in the New World

Reading the African-American and West Indian Experience

Black Nationalism in the New World

Latin America Otherwise

More about this series

Book Pages: 384 Illustrations: Published: October 2002

Author: Robert Carr

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Caribbean Studies, Gender and Sexuality

From nineteenth-century black nationalist writer Martin Delany through the rise of Jim Crow, the 1937 riots in Trinidad, and the achievement of Independence in the West Indies, up to the present era of globalization, Black Nationalism in the New World explores the paths taken by black nationalism in the United States and the Caribbean. Bringing to bear a comparative, diasporic perspective, Robert Carr examines the complex roles race, gender, sexuality, and history have played in the formation of black national identities in the U. S. and Caribbean—particularly in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana—over the past two centuries. He shows how nationalism begins as an impulse emanating "upwards" from the bottom of the social and economic spectrum and discusses the implications of this phenomenon for understanding democracy and nationalism.

Black Nationalism in the New World combines geography, political economy, and subaltern studies in readings of noncanonical literary works, which in turn illuminate debates over African-American and West Indian culture, identity, and politics. In addition to Martin Delany’s Blake, or the Huts of America, Carr focuses on Pauline Hopkins’s Contending Forces; Crown Jewel, R. A. C. de Boissière’s novel of the Trinidadian revolt against British rule; Wilson Harris’s Guyana Quartet; the writings of the Oakland Black Panthers—particularly Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver; the gay novella Just Being Guys Together; and Lionheart Gal, a collection of patois testimonials assembled by Sistren, a radical Jamaican women’s theater group active in the ‘80s.

With its comparative approach, broad historical sweep, and use of texts not well known in the United States, Black Nationalism in the New World extends the work of such theorists as Homi Bhabha, Paul Gilroy, and Nell Irwin Painter. It will be necessary reading for those interested in African American studies, Caribbean studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, and American studies.


"[A] conceptually imaginative and excellent new work." — Jane Mattox , Mississippi Quarterly

"[R]eading these texts against one another within the context of a linear historical analysis of political and cultural struggles among African-Americans and West Indians does provide a clear sense of the simultaneous processes of change and continuity within nationalist narratives. Moreover, [Carr's] suggestion that these texts most obviously reveal the limitations of struggling for state representation is provocative." — Deborah A. Thomas , Identities

"[T]he central value of Carr's text remains precisely in what is implied in his subtitle: that by 'reading African American and West Indian experiences' together, we are listening to a dialogue among a new generation of Caribbean and African-descended intellectuals, who form part of a larger formation of New World black intellectuals." — Michelle Stephens , Modern Fiction Studies

"Carr's wide range of references, attention to historical and literary detail and palpable political commitment raises standards for the field as a whole. One of his greatest strengths is the sustained engagement with non-canonical writer and texts." — Yogita Goyal, Wasafiri

“Robert Carr’s book places at our disposal a virtually unique comparative study of cultural production in the United States and the Caribbean.” — Hortense Spillers, Cornell University

“This book is really smart, interesting, and useful—in short, an incredible addition to scholarship in the areas it addresses. It is an outstanding work.” — Wahneema Lubiano, Duke University


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Robert Carr is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology, and Social Work at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He is a management consultant to a number of government and nongovernmental organizations specializing in culture-specific Caribbean responses to HIV/AIDS. He has a doctoral degree in English and has translated, along with Ileana Rodríguez, her book House/Garden/Nation: Space, Gender, and Ethnicity in Postcolonial Latin American Literatures by Women, published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top


1. F(o)unding Black Capital: Money, Power, Culture, and Revolution in Martin R. Delany’s Blake; or The Huts of America

2. Of What Use Is History? Blood, Race, Nation, and Ethnicity in Pauline Hopkin’s New Woman

3. From Larva to Chrysalis: Multicultural Consciousness and Anticolonial Revolution in Ralph de Boissière’s Crown Jewel

4. The New Man in the Jungle: Chaos, Community, and the Margins of the Nation-State

5. The Masculinization of Mothering: The Oakland Black Panthers and the Black Body Politic

6. A Politics of Change: Sistren, Subalternity, and the Social Pact in the War for Democratic Socialism

7. Geopolitics/Geoculture: Denationalization in the New World Order



Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Honorable mention, 2004 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award (presented by the Caribbean Studies Association)

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2973-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2982-4
Publicity material