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December 28 , 2010

Tradition and the Black Atlantic

Critical Theory in the African Diaspora


Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Tradition and the Black Atlantic is both a vibrant romp down the rabbit hole of cultural studies and an examination of the discipline’s roots and role in contemporary thought. In this conversational tour through the halls of theory, Gates leaps from Richard Wright to Spike Lee, from Pat Buchanan to Frantz Fanon, and ultimately to the source of anticolonialist thought: the unlikely figure of Edmund Burke.

Throughout Tradition and the Black Atlantic, Gates shows that the culture wars have presented us with a surfeit of either/ors-tradition versus modernity; Eurocentrism versus Afrocentricism. Pointing us away from these facile dichotomies, Gates deftly combines rigorous scholarship with humor, looking back to the roots of cultural studies in order to map out its future course.

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