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Review of Globalisation and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness


By Dr. Olasunkanmi Sholarin

Globalisation and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness. Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah A. Thomas, eds. Duke University Press, 2006. Pp .407. ISBN 0-8223-3772-X (pb). £14.95

This book belongs to the first series of academic materials that project the social and cultural values of people of African descent in the international arena. The authors fearlessly investigate how these virtues are being used to redefine the perception of blackness in the minds of others within the global village. The book towers above others in its category in the sense that it draws on the anthropology and rich cultural identity of Black People to express their social and cultural heritage.

The authors, in a constructively argued manner, query the low level of significance currently being attached to macroanalytics of racialization . This is in spite of the fact that it is a widely held notion that racial formations dynamically reflect and shape global processes, and not merely effect them. In a way, this book has succeeded in arguing the case that race has both constituted and been constituted by global transformations.Relying on the unique attributes of their music, dance and fashion, the people of African descent are ferociously questioning the global perception of blackness, while at the same time reshaping such global perceptions. This book explores the deep-rooted desire of many Africans in the diaspora not to be alienated from, but rather openly expressing their affinity to, their ancestral homeland and continent.

The authors must be commended for their blunt refusal not to be mindless about the vices that punctuate the virtues which, again, globalization has bestowed on the Africans in the diaspora. They discuss these vices with no less tenacity.

Through this book, I have come to realize the changing meanings and politics of blackness, and how the contemporary processes of globalization are both changing and being shaped by these changes. As a reader you are bound to realize the same.

[Published in Leeds African Studies Bulletin 69 (2007), p. 75]

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