Compiled, edited, and newly revised by Ralph Ellison’s literary executor, John F. Callahan, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes posthumously discovered reviews, criticism, and interviews, as well as the essay collections Shadow and Act (1964), hailed by Robert Penn Warren as “a body of cogent and subtle commentary on the questions that focus on race,” and Going to the Territory (1986), an exploration of literature and folklore, jazz and culture, and the nature and quality of lives that black Americans lead. “Ralph Ellison,” wrote Stanley Crouch, “reached across race, religion, class and sex to make us all Americans.”
The discipline of American studies was established in the early days of World War II and drew on the myth of American exceptionalism. Now that the so-called American Century has come to an end, what would a truly globalized version of American studies look like? Brian T. Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar offer a new standard for the field’s transnational aspiration with Globalizing American Studies. The essays here offer a comparative, multilingual, or multisited approach to ideas and representations of America. The contributors explore unexpected perspectives on the international circulation of American culture: the traffic of American movies within the British Empire, the reception of the film Gone with the Wind in the Arab world, the parallels between Japanese and American styles of nativism, and new incarnations of American studies itself in the Middle East and South Asia. The essays elicit a forgotten multilateralism long inherent in American history and provide vivid accounts of post–Revolutionary science communities, late-nineteenth century Mexican border crossings, African American internationalism, Cold War womanhood in the United States and Soviet Russia, and the neo-Orientalism of the new obsession with Iran, among others. Bringing together established scholars already associated with the global turn in American studies with contributors who specialize in African studies, East Asian studies, Latin American studies, media studies, anthropology, and other areas, Globalizing American Studies is an original response to an important disciplinary shift in academia.
In July 1964, after a decade of intense media focus on civil rights protest in the Jim Crow South, a riot in Harlem abruptly shifted attention to the urban crisis embroiling America's northern cities. On the Corner revisits the volatile moment when African American intellectuals were thrust into the spotlight as indigenous interpreters of black urban life to white America, and when black urban communities became the chief objects of black intellectuals' perceived social obligations. Daniel Matlin explores how the psychologist Kenneth B. Clark, the literary author and activist Amiri Baraka, and the visual artist Romare Bearden each wrestled with the opportunities and dilemmas of their heightened public stature. Amid an often fractious interdisciplinary debate, black intellectuals furnished sharply contrasting representations of black urban life and vied to establish their authority as indigenous interpreters. In time, however, Clark, Baraka, and Bearden each concluded that acting as interpreters for white America placed dangerous constraints on black intellectual practice. On the Corner reveals how the condition of entry into the public sphere for African American intellectuals in the post-civil rights era has been confinement to what Clark called "the topic that is reserved for blacks."