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Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5062-0
204 pages
May 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics (1405150629) cover image

Description

Black is Beautiful identifies and explores the most significant philosophical issues that emerge from the aesthetic dimensions of black life, providing a long-overdue synthesis and the first extended philosophical treatment of this crucial subject.
  • The first extended philosophical treatment of an important subject that has been almost entirely neglected by philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of art
  • Takes an important step in assembling black aesthetics as an object of philosophical study
  • Unites two areas of scholarship for the first time – philosophical aesthetics and black cultural theory, dissolving the dilemma of either studying philosophy, or studying black expressive culture
  • Brings a wide range of fields into conversation with one another– from visual culture studies and art history to analytic philosophy to musicology – producing mutually illuminating approaches  that challenge some of the basic suppositions of each
  • Well-balanced, up-to-date, and beautifully written as well as inventive and insightful
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

1 Assembly, Not Birth 1

1 Introduction 1

2 Inquiry and Assembly 3

3 On Blackness 6

4 On the Black Aesthetic Tradition 12

5 Black Aesthetics as/and Philosophy 19

6 Conclusion 26

2 No Negroes in Connecticut: Seers, Seen 32

1 Introduction 33

2 Setting the Stage: Blacking Up Zoe 35

3 Theorizing the (In)visible 36

4 Theorizing Visuality 43

5 Two Varieties of Black Invisibility: Presence and Personhood 48

6 From Persons to Characters: A Detour 51

7 Two More Varieties of Black Invisibility: Perspectives and Plurality 58

8 Unseeing Nina Simone 63

9 Conclusion: Phronesis and Power 69

3 Beauty to Set the World Right: The Politics of Black Aesthetics 77

1 Introduction 77

2 Blackness and the Political 80

3 Politics and Aesthetics 83

4 The Politics–Aesthetics Nexus in Black; or, "The Black Nation: A Garvey Production" 85

5 Autonomy and Separatism 87

6 Propaganda, Truth, and Art 88

7 What is Life but Life? Reading Du Bois 91

8 Apostles of Truth and Right 94

9 On "Propaganda" 98

10 Conclusion 99

4 Dark Lovely Yet And; Or, How To Love Black Bodies While Hating Black People 104

1 Introduction 105

2 Circumscribing the Topic: Definitions and Distinctions 107

3 Circumscribing the Topic, cont'd: Context and Scope 109

4 The Cases 110

5 Reading the Cases 115

6 Conclusion 129

5 Roots and Routes: Disarming Authenticity 132

1 Introduction 132

2 An Easy Case: The Germans in Yorubaland 134

3 A Harder Case: Kente Capers 136

4 Varieties of Authenticity 138

5 From Exegesis to Ethics 144

6 The Kente Case, Revisited 151

6 Make It Funky; Or, Music's Cognitive Travels and the Despotism of Rhythm 155

1 Introduction 156

2 Beyond the How ]Possible: Kivy's Questions 157

3 Stimulus, Culture, Race 159

4 Preliminaries: Rhythm, Brains, and Race Music 162

5 The Flaw in the Funk 168

6 (Soul) Power to the People 172

7 Funky White Boys and Honorary Soul Sisters 174

8 Conclusion 177

7 Conclusion: "It Sucks That I Robbed You"; Or, Ambivalence,

Appropriation, Joy, Pain 182

Index 186

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Author Information

Paul C. Taylor teaches Philosophy and African American studies at the Pennsylvania State University, where he has also served as Head of the Department of African American studies. Professor Taylor has provided commentary on race and politics for newspapers and radio shows on four continents. He is the author of Race: A Philosophical Introduction (Polity, 2003; 2nd ed. 2013), has recently completed On Obama (Routledge, 2015), and is one of the editors of the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race (forthcoming).
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