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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness has, since its publication, been a foundational text for scholars working at the intersection of race, culture, and political thought. This chapter identifies three themes that structure Gilroy’s expansive argument and make it enduring. First, Gilroy offers juxtaposing analyses of the role of roots and routes in the history of black trans-Atlantic culture. Second, it argues that Gilroy thinks that many scholars prize racial essentialism or authenticity over understanding the ways black culture has evolved over time in ways that have shaped and benefitted from modernity. Last, Gilroy seeks to reclaim a genuine appreciate of black culture as a major contribution to modernity as a means of resisting the problem of double-consciousness since this distracts from the appreciation and study of black culture to blacks acculturating themselves to social values that do not contribute to their social or political liberty.

Keywords: race, culture, slavery, modernity, double-consciousness, Gilroy

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