Everything Man

The Form and Function of Paul Robeson

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 21 illustrations Published: January 2020

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Music

From his cavernous voice and unparalleled artistry to his fearless struggle for human rights, Paul Robeson was one of the twentieth century's greatest icons and polymaths. In Everything Man Shana L. Redmond traces Robeson's continuing cultural resonances in popular culture and politics. She follows his appearance throughout the twentieth century in the forms of sonic and visual vibration and holography; theater, art, and play; and the physical environment. Redmond thereby creates an imaginative cartography in which Robeson remains present and accountable to all those he inspired and defended. With her bold and unique theorization of antiphonal life, Redmond charts the possibility of continued communication, care, and collectivity with those who are dead but never gone.


“Formally challenging and beautifully conceived, Everything Man is a model for scholarship and thinking as well as a powerful addition to the body of work on Paul Robeson, freedom movements, sound studies, music, and beyond. It will make a tremendous impact.” — Christina Sharpe, author of In the Wake

"Shana Redmond’s ingenious reframing of Paul Robeson as Afrofuturist media artist is but one quality marking Everything Man as a milestone contribution to Robeson scholarship. Redmond compels readers to reconsider Robeson as a radical modernist—one whose innovative embrace of electronic media technology (film, sound recording, telegraph) transforms our understanding of him from remote Black Communist icon to protean, creative contemporary. In lucid and evocative prose Redmond narrates how Robeson democratized sonic and visual modernity while engaged in anticapitalist justice work. Redmond illuminates the afterlife of Robeson’s voice and presence too—his appearances in postmodern art practices and the many places Robeson’s footpaths took Redmond where she discovered he was still revered by the far-flung descendants of the man's midcentury comrades and congregants.” — Greg Tate, author of Flyboy 2

"[A] deeply innovative exploration of the cultural resonances of the titanic – yet often now overlooked African American song interpreter, actor, athlete and Freedom Fighter Paul Robeson. . . .  Redmond returns Robeson to his rightful place at the center of the American conversation." — Ann Powers, NPR's Best Books of 2020


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Price: $24.95
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Shana L. Redmond is Professor of Musicology and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is coeditor of Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader, also published by Duke University Press, and author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Element: A Preface  xi
Acknowledgments  xix
Vibration. An Introduction  1
1. Hologram  14
2. Play  39
3. Installation  72
4. Environment  102
Frequency. A Continuation . . .  130
Notes  141
Bibliography  161
Index  173
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

A 2020 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title

Finalist, ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) Book Prize

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0661-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0594-0
Funding Information The following acknowledgment will appear in the Book’s front matter: “This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) – a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries – and the generous support of Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, and the UCLA Library. Learn more at the TOME website, available at: openmonographs.org.