As The Black Scholar inches closer to celebrating 50 years of existence, the journal is proud to conclude our current volume on a high note. Organized as a general issue, Volume 47, Number 4 opens with a challenging and provocative introduction by TBS Editor-In-Chief, Louis Chude-Sokei, titled “Blackness As Method.” Noting the many different ways notions of “Blackness” have been and continue to be put into motion, the brief introduction also gestures to the methodological (and ideational) variation that constitutes the content of this particular volume and the contemporary state of Black intellectual ferment and cultural production in the country, more broadly. If, as Chude-Sokei points out, notions of blackness have become ubiquitous and multifarious, then the contributors of this volume epitomize the varied ways thinkers are approaching the study of Black lives.
In his essay on Lerone Bennett, E. James West harkens back to a previous decade that witnessed an explosion in appreciation of all things “Black”—the 1960s. West recalls the central role Lerone Bennett played in popularizing African-American history, while also reminding us that social movements—like Black Power and the current Movement for Black Lives—also play a part in rejuvenating a popular historical imagination and public inquisitiveness.
Chandra Ford’s “Notions of Blackness in the Context of HIV/Aids Disparities and Research” focuses our attention on the epistemic (and medical) problems produced by racism. Taking square aim at the field of Public Health, Ford argues that racism and distorted notions of blackness continue to impact the presuppositions and methods used to study HIV/AIDS.
In an essay that resides at the point where the public and private spheres overlap, Siobhan Brooks prods us to think about the symbolic meaning of marriage for Black queer women after DOMA. Continuing with the theme of “blackness as method,” Brooks asks how the racialized experiences of Black queer women has impacted their notion of marriage as a legal right and its desirability as a social right of passage.
The articles in volume 47, Number 4 round out with Nathaniel Nesmith’s interview with Frank Rich. Discussing the life and legacy of the late, great Pittsburgh playwright and author, August Wilson, Rich and Nesmith prompt us to consider if, in fact, it is the creative mind—that of the artist—who might be best suited to capture this thing called “blackness.”
The issue closes with a review essay and a solid selection of book reviews.
For a limited time, you can download and read Chude-Sokei’s introduction, “Blackness As Method,” and Brooks’ article, “Black on Black Love: Black Lesbian and Bisexual Women, Marriage, and Symbolic Meaning,” for free. You can also preview the contents of the issue here.
The cover of this issue was done by Delita Martin. See more of her amazing work here.
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