A Dying Democracy

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[By: Jerry Ward, Jr.]   We live in paradox.  It is a “truth,” universally recognized and universally denied in contemporary American society, that democracy is dying.  Recognition that this “truth” is not a “false-truth” can be enhanced by reading Lynch’s book in tandem with Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students […]

Book Review: Posthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination

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[By: Christopher Peace] Lillvis, Kristen. Posthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination. University of Georgia Press, 2017. Kristen Lillvis’s  Posthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination explores posthumanism’s fusion of the body, flesh, gender and race through the works of various neo-slave narratives and contemporary performance artists. This “assemblage of ideas, material, and beings” speculates the future and positionality of the Black female imagination. Lillivis […]

A Great American Protest Novel

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A spiritual inheritor to Agee, says Ward. [by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] “There is in Southern white man, distributed almost as thickly as the dialect,” James Agee wrote in 1936, “an epidemic capability of sadism which you would have to go as far to match and whose chief basis is possibly, but only possibly, and only one among many, a fear of the Negro, deeper […]

In Toni Morrison’s Latest Novel, Black (Children’s) Lives Matter

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 [by Portia Owusu] In her review of Toni Morrison’s eighth novel, Love, English writer Hilary Mantel asserts: “when Morrison writes at her best, you can feel the workings of history through her prose.” An accurate description, if ever there was one, for the novelist who is often described as the voice of America’s conscience. For many, it is Morrison’s achievements in Beloved, the Pulitzer prize-winning […]

Toni Morrison: A Full Circle in Motion

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Abraham Lincoln’s surmising that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin begat the War Between the States is a folkloric salute to the power of language and imagination. Stowe used a lot of sugar to advance the cause of abolition. Superior to Stowe and members of her liberal tribe, Toni Morrison has avoided traffic in sugar or kindred flavorings. She is […]

Subversive Journalism: A Review of Earle V. Bryant’s BYLINE RICHARD WRIGHT: ARTICLES FROM THE DAILY WORKER AND NEW MASSES (2015)

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Such recent dedicated scholarship as Mary Helen Washington’s The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s and William J. Maxwell’s F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature serve as a warrant for thinking of contemporary literary and cultural studies as components of a mega-surveillance machine. Readers and critics cooperate, often unwittingly, […]

Fight Media Hegemony with a Trickster’s Critique: Ishmael Reed’s Faction about O.J. and Media Lynching

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[by Yuqing Lin] Editor’s Note: The Project HBW Blog mostly traffics in shorter pieces, but from time to time we like to present our readers with a longer piece, as well, in a feature we call Taking the Long View.  For this installment, we feature scholar Yuqing Lin’s insightful, challenging review of Ishmael Reed’s recent novel Juice! Thanks to HBW Lead Blogger Dr. Jerry W. […]