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Against Race or the Politics of Self-Ethnography

Carole Boyce Davies


In 1997 in a London bookstore, in the wake of the success of The Black Atlantic a publisher’s flier caught my eye. It announced that Paul Gilroy’s next book, was going to be on “Black Fascism.” Startled that a black scholar would actually produce and enshrine that combination, I relayed this information to a friend, a well-known member of the London black activist community who indicated disinterestedly that he would not be the least surprised if Gilroy would attempt such a project. I was not surprised then when an essay entitled “Black Fascism” appeared in Transition (Issue 81/82). Still, seeing this essay titled in this way became for me a defining moment in my assessment of Gilroy’s larger project. This project, my reading of Gilroy’s ‘Black Fascism’ then is his larger critique of any form of black nationalism and of any black activist/collective work taken to the limit. Against Race as title for this book under present consideration is that this is no more than a publisher’s recognition that a title such as “Black Fascism,” provocative though it is, would be harder to market to the U.S. academic public. Sold as Between Camps in London, Against Race as title fits better into the range of “race industry” books.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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