Five dark nonfiction books to watch



There is nothing more important in the black community than self-education. More than ever, black voices are being amplified and released to examine and explore topics of black life, history, and culture in an in-depth, thought-provoking, and thought-provoking way.

Duke University Press is a leading academic publisher that has pushed the boundaries of black nonfiction over the past decade. Their catalog grows stronger every year by choosing black thinkers who are ahead of the game and experts in their fields.

Here are five upcoming books from Duke’s 2022 catalog that will inspire readers to expand their understanding of the black experience and engage with writers who embody the vision and talent to guide the current generation into a paradigm of information and pride. black.

“or, to be the other woman” by Simone White

Publication date: August 2022

Literary critic and poet, Simone White offers a literary piece that blends poetry, personal narrative and essay to express her experience of the complexities of black feminist life. White’s acute ability to weave vivid, creative prose and poetry as a form of self-aware communication and expression makes “or, about being the other woman” exciting and unique.

“Throughout this book-length poem, White writes through a hybrid of poetry, essay, personal narrative and critical theory, attesting to the narrative complexities of writing and living as as a black woman and artist. She views black social life – from art and motherhood to trap music and love – as unspeakably disturbing and reflects on the extent to which it blocks and punishes black women. —Duke University Press

“King’s Vibrato: Modernism, Darkness, and the Sonic Life of Martin Luther King Jr.”

Publication date: September 2022

Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Maurice O. Wallace writes an interesting account of the power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice, literally.

“Providing a cultural history and critical theory of the black modernist soundscapes that helped shape King’s vocal timbre, Wallace shows how the qualities of King’s voice depended on a mix of church architecture and acoustics, d musical instrumentation and sound technology, audience and song. It examines the acoustic architectures of African-American churches where King spoke and the centrality of the pipe organ in those churches, offers a black feminist critique of the gospel influence on King and describes how variations of natural environments and sonic amplifications made each of King’s three deliveries of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech unique.” – Duke University Press

“The Politics of Black Disability” by Sami Schalk

Publication date: October 2022

Sami Schalk, associate professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin, writes about the history of black disability politics, giving a deeply important perspective on the struggle for the rights of black people with disabilities in America since the 1970s.

“She points out that this work has not been recognized as part of the legacy of disability justice and liberation, as black disability politics differs in language and approach from the mainstream rights movement. predominantly white people with disabilities. Drawing on the archives of the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women’s Health Project as well as interviews with contemporary black cultural workers with disabilities, Schalk identifies common qualities of black disability policy, including the need to ground initiatives public health on the experience and expertise of marginalized people with disabilities. people so they can work in anti-racist, feminist and anti-capable ways. –Duke University Press

“There Are Only a Few of Us: Black Music Writers Tell Their Stories”

Publication date: December 2022

Jazz aficionado Willard Jenkins compiles a collection of writings from black jazz critics in “Ain’t But a Few of Us”. The book gives voice and recognition to contemporary and historical black jazz journalists and critics who traverse the white male-dominated field of jazz criticism.

“No major mainstream jazz publication has ever had a black editor or publisher. “Ain’t But a Few of Us” features more than two dozen candid dialogues with black jazz critics and journalists ranging from Greg Tate, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Robin DG Kelly to Tammy Kernodle, Ron Welburn and John Murph. They discuss barriers to access for black jazz journalists, how they cope with the white male-dominated world of jazz writing, and point out that these racial disparities are not limited to jazz and also hinder their efforts to write about other musical genres. . ‘Ain’t But a Few of Us’ also includes an anthology section, which reprints classic essays and articles by black writers and musicians like LeRoi Jones, Archie Shepp, AB Spellman, Herbie Nichols, Greg Tate and d ‘others. Hurry

“New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair”

Publication date: December 2022

Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Professor of African and African American Studies, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University, writes a landmark review of the maintenance, style, and beauty of black hair .

“In ‘New Growth’, Jasmine Nichole Cobb traces the history of Afro-textured hairstyling, exploring it as visual material through which to reinvent the sensual experience of Blackness. Through close readings of slave narratives, of scrapbooks, travel illustrations, documentary films and photographs, as well as collages, crafts and sculptures, from the 19th century to the present day, Cobb shows how the racial distinctions attributed to people of culture become simultaneously visible and tactile.”—Duke University Press

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