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African American Studies at Princeton University

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African American Studies at Princeton University

Department of African American Studies at Princeton University

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The Princeton African American Studies Department is known as a convener of conversations about the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of race and racial groups. We invite you to listen as faculty “read” how race and culture are produced globally, look past outcomes to origins, question dominant discourses, and consider evidence instead of myth.
 
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Getting Something to Eat in Jackson (Princeton Press, 2021) uses food—what people eat and how—to explore the interaction of race and class in the lives of African Americans in the contemporary urban South. Dr. Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. examines how “foodways”—food availability, choice, and consumption—vary greatly between classes of African Americans in …
 
For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand surprisingly little about the lives of African American children, particularly those affected by northern emancipation. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches, and unpublished documents is a ric…
 
Two events in 1921—more than a thousand miles apart—had a profound impact on African American history: the production of the all-Black musical Shuffle Along and the Tulsa race massacre. A century on, an online workshop held at Princeton, Reactivating Memory, sought to explore the relationship between these seemingly disparate events and consider th…
 
Amid a string of fall 2021 news reports about past-due exonerations and (white) self-defense that document the limits of racial justice within the U.S. legal system, Pain and Shock in America: Politics, Advocacy, and the Controversial Treatment of People with Disabilities (Brandeis University Press, 2021) becomes an even more relevant and timely bo…
 
In this installment of our Recall this Buck series (check out our earlier conversations with Thomas Piketty, Peter Brown and Christine Desan), John and Elizabeth talk with Daniel Souleles, anthropologist at the Copenhagen Business School and author of Songs of Profit, Songs of Loss: Private Equity, Wealth, and Inequality (Lincoln : University of Ne…
 
Political Scientists Amy Fried (University of Maine) and Douglas B. Harris (Loyola University Maryland) have a new book, At War with Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump (Columbia UP, 2021), that looks at the question of distrust within American politics and how that distrust has moved from healthy skepticism to…
 
Before Billy Wilder became the screenwriter and director of iconic films like Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot, he worked as a freelance reporter, first in Vienna and then in Weimar Berlin. Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna (Princeton UP, 2021) brings together more than fifty articles, translated int…
 
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson (Princeton Press, 2021) uses food—what people eat and how—to explore the interaction of race and class in the lives of African Americans in the contemporary urban South. Dr. Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. examines how “foodways”—food availability, choice, and consumption—vary greatly between classes of African Americans in …
 
Phantoms of a Beleaguered Republic: The Deep State and the Unitary Executive (Oxford University Press, 2021) powerfully dissects one of the fundamental problems in American governance today: the clash between presidents determined to redirect the nation through ever-tighter control of administration and an executive branch still organized to promot…
 
Following upon the success of his magisterial account of Winston Churchill, Andrew Roberts returns with an outstanding biography of George III: The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III (Viking, 2021) . Drawing on important new archival material, Roberts rescues George III from unwarranted criticism and dramatic hyperbole to s…
 
Philp Fabian Flynn led a remarkable life, bearing witness to some of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century. Flynn took part in the invasions of Sicily and Normandy, the Battle of Aachen, and the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. He acted as confessor to Nazi War Criminals during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, assisted Hung…
 
For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand surprisingly little about the lives of African American children, particularly those affected by northern emancipation. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches, and unpublished documents is a ric…
 
White middle-class eaters are increasingly venturing into historically segregated urban neighborhoods in search of "authentic" eating in restaurants run by-and originally catering to-immigrants and people of color. What does a growing white interest in these foods mean for historically immigrant neighborhoods and communities of color? What role doe…
 
In the early twentieth century, when many US unions disgracefully excluded black and Asian workers, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) warmly welcomed people of color, in keeping with their emphasis on class solidarity and their bold motto: "An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!" A brilliant union organizer and a humorous orator, Benjamin Fl…
 
In the early twentieth century, when many US unions disgracefully excluded black and Asian workers, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) warmly welcomed people of color, in keeping with their emphasis on class solidarity and their bold motto: "An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!" A brilliant union organizer and a humorous orator, Benjamin Fl…
 
Eric Berkowitz has written a short history of a censorship, a large topic that has been a phenomenon since the advent of recorded history. In Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West from the Ancients to Fake News (Beacon Press, 2021), Berkowitz reviews the motives and methods of governments, religious authorities, and private cit…
 
Kevin Bruyneel confronts the chronic displacement of Indigeneity in the politics and discourse around race in American political theory and culture, arguing that the ongoing influence of settler-colonialism has undermined efforts to understand Indigenous politics while also hindering conversation around race itself. By reexamining major episodes, t…
 
Kevin Bruyneel confronts the chronic displacement of Indigeneity in the politics and discourse around race in American political theory and culture, arguing that the ongoing influence of settler-colonialism has undermined efforts to understand Indigenous politics while also hindering conversation around race itself. By reexamining major episodes, t…
 
Born in Prague to Holocaust survivors, Hadassah Lieberman and her family immigrated in 1949 to the United States. She went on to earn a BA from Boston University in government and dramatics and an MA in international relations and American government from Northeastern University. She built a career devoted largely to public health that has included…
 
Yael Levy examines the underexplored antiheroine of early twenty-first century television in Chick-TV: Antiheroines and Time Unbound (Syracuse UP, 2022). Levy advances antiheroines to the forefront of television criticism, revealing the varied and subtle ways in which they perform feminist resistance. Offering a retooling of gendered media analyses…
 
During the height of the Cold War, passionate idealists across the US and Africa came together to fight for Black self-determination and the antiracist remaking of society. Beginning with the 1957 Ghanaian independence celebration, the optimism and challenges of African independence leaders were publicized to African Americans through community-bas…
 
How do we narrate history, both the troubling past and what we chose to remember? Clint Smith sets out to wrestle with this question and its relationship to enslavement in his first nonfiction book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown and Company, 2021). From Monticello plantation to Angola …
 
During the height of the Cold War, passionate idealists across the US and Africa came together to fight for Black self-determination and the antiracist remaking of society. Beginning with the 1957 Ghanaian independence celebration, the optimism and challenges of African independence leaders were publicized to African Americans through community-bas…
 
How do we narrate history, both the troubling past and what we chose to remember? Clint Smith sets out to wrestle with this question and its relationship to enslavement in his first nonfiction book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown and Company, 2021). From Monticello plantation to Angola …
 
Signed on September 2, 1945 aboard the American battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay by Japanese and Allied leaders, the instrument of surrender formally ended the war in the Pacific and brought to a close one of the most cataclysmic engagements in history, one that had cost the lives of millions. VJ―Victory over Japan―Day had taken place two weeks…
 
Tracing more than two centuries of history, Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country’s Love Affair with the World’s Most Famous Writer (University of New Mexico Press, 2020) uncovers a vast array of different voices that capture the state’s love affair with the world’s most famous writer. From mountain men, pioneers, and itinerant acting companies i…
 
On this episode of Queer Voices of the South, I talk with Shelby Criswell, whose book Queer As All Get Out: 10 People Who've Inspired Me (Street Noise Books, 2021) follows the daily life of one queer artist from Texas as they introduce us to the lives of ten extraordinary people. The author shares their life as a genderqueer person, living in the A…
 
Steven P. Brown, professor of political science at Auburn University, has written a history of notable U.S. Supreme Cases and justices that hailed from Alabama. In Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation (U Alabama Press, 2020), Brown reviews eight landmark cases which originated in Alabama and were eventually reviewed by the U.S…
 
Steven P. Brown, professor of political science at Auburn University, has written a history of notable U.S. Supreme Cases and justices that hailed from Alabama. In Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation (U Alabama Press, 2020), Brown reviews eight landmark cases which originated in Alabama and were eventually reviewed by the U.S…
 
In recent years the resurgence of great power competition has gripped the headlines, with new emerging powers (such as Russia and China) seeking to challenge the American and Western hegemony that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War. While the geopolitics of the Cold War era were based on ideology, the current geopolitics appear to be based…
 
A vast and desolate region, the Texas-New Mexico borderlands have long been an ideal setting for intrigue and illegal dealings--never more so than in the lawless early days of cattle trafficking and trade among the Plains tribes and Comancheros. This book takes us to the borderlands in the 1860s and 1870s for an in-depth look at Union-Confederate s…
 
Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation-all the while igno…
 
Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation-all the while igno…
 
An earlier Postscript explained what was at stake for concealed carry laws in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court – and guessed at what the oral arguments might reveal. Now that arguments have been heard in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, three legal scholars join the podcast to analyze the oral argument. Even if you are not a …
 
Tanya L. Roth's Her Cold War: Women in the U.S. Military, 1945–1980 (University of North Carolina Press, 2021) explains that while Rosie the Riveter had fewer paid employment options after being told to cede her job to returning World War II veterans, her sisters and daughters found new work opportunities in national defense. The 1948 Women's Armed…
 
Despite their considerable presence in Hollywood, extras and working actors have received scant attention within film and media studies as significant contributors to the history of the industry. Looking not to the stars but to these supporting players in film, television, and, recently, streaming programming, Below the Stars: How the Labor of Work…
 
In this episode, I interview David Barak-Gorodetzky about his new book, Judah Magnes: The Prophetic Politics of a Religious Binationalist (U Nebraska Press, 2021). This comprehensive intellectual biography of Judah Magnes—the Reform rabbi, American Zionist leader, and inaugural Hebrew University chancellor—offers novel analysis of how theology and …
 
When Americans conjure the image of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, they often think about the various paintings that depict the Founders looking to George Washington on the dais at the convention. It is this snapshot of history that embodies Americans’ perceptions of the Founders and their conviction in the creation of the gr…
 
Covering the period from the interwar years through the arrival of the steamship SS Empire Windrush from Jamaica in 1948 and culminating in the period of decolonization in the British Caribbean by the early 1970s, James Cantres’ Blackening Britain: Caribbean Radicalism from Windrush to Decolonization (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) situates the develo…
 
Why have conservatives decried 'activist judges'? And why have liberals - and America's powerful legal establishment - emphasized qualifications and experience over ideology? The Judicial Tug of War: How Lawyers, Politicians, and Ideological Incentives Shape the American Judiciary (Cambridge UP, 2020) tackles these questions with a new framework fo…
 
In the decades following the American Civil War, several of the generals who had laid down their swords picked up their pens and published accounts of their service in the conflict. In The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), Stephen Cushman analyzes a half-dozen of these works to di…
 
The paradox of Progressivism continues to fascinate more than one hundred years on. Democratic but elitist, emancipatory but coercive, advanced and assimilationist, Progressivism was defined by its contradictions. In Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform (Harvard UP, 2019), Marilyn Lake poin…
 
The little-known history of U.S. survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings reveals captivating trans-Pacific memories of war, illness, gender, and community. The fact that there are indeed American survivors of the American nuclear attack on Hiroshima & Nagasaki is not common knowledge. Even in Hiroshima & Nagasaki the existence of Am…
 
Beginning on the shores of West Africa in the sixteenth century and ending in the U.S. Lower South on the eve of the Civil War, Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh traces a bold history of the interior lives of bondwomen as they carved out an existence for themselves and their families amid the horrors of American slavery. With particular attention to maternit…
 
Beginning on the shores of West Africa in the sixteenth century and ending in the U.S. Lower South on the eve of the Civil War, Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh traces a bold history of the interior lives of bondwomen as they carved out an existence for themselves and their families amid the horrors of American slavery. With particular attention to maternit…
 
The Epicurean Republic is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and award-winning author and independent scholar Matthew Stewart. In his later years, Thomas Jefferson referred to “the revolutionary part of the [American] Revolution”, which for him meant the founding ideals that would serve as a model for the world on how to…
 
From beer labels to literary classics like A River Runs Through It, trout fishing is a beloved feature of the iconography of the American West. But as Jen Brown demonstrates in Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West (U Washington Press, 2017), the popular conception of Rocky Mountain trout fishing as a quintessential…
 
For the majority of Americans, hard times have long been a way of life. Some work multiple low-wage jobs, others face the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising costs of living. Sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale talked with people across Appalachia, at the Standing Rock and Wind River reservations, and in the bustling city of Oakland, California. Thei…
 
Political Scientist Efrén Pérez’s new book, Diversity's Child: People of Color and the Politics of Identity (U Chicago Press, 2021), explores the term and category “people of color” and how this grouping has been used within politics, but also how it is has been used by those who are classified as people of color. Pérez examines group identity, lan…
 
Home to some of the most powerful nuclear missile systems in the world, Montana played an indispensable role in the war against Communism. Utilizing the Lend-Lease pipeline, Soviet spies ferried stolen nuclear and industrial secrets, loaded in diplomatic pouches, from Great Falls to the Soviet Union. Army nurse Lieutenant Diane Carlson served as "a…
 
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