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Black Studies: Home

A guide to our history, our present, our future, solely for our wellbeing.

Mutha' Is Half a Word: Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture

Mutha' is Half a Word: Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture explores the importance of sexual desire in the formation of radical Black females' subjectivities in Black women's culture through the trope of the indefinable trickster figure.

Citizen: An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV -- everywhere, all the time.

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama = Hail the Dark Lioness

he book features over ninety of Muholi’s evocative self-portraits, each image drafted from material props in Muholi’s immediate environment. These portraits reflect the journey, self-image, and possibilities of a black woman in today’s global society. A powerfully arresting collection of work, Muholi’s radical statements of identity, race, and resistance are a direct response to contemporary and historical racisms.

Hip Hop Family Tree

The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium — the comic book? Encyclopedic history of the formative years of the music genre that changed global culture.

Freshwater

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.

A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging

A Map to the Door of No Return explores identity and belonging in a culturally diverse and rapidly changing world. Drawing on cartography, travels, politics and history Brand sketches the shifting borders of home and nation. The title, A Map to the Door of No Return, refers to both a place in imagination and a point in history -- the Middle Passage. The quest for identity and place has profound meaning and resonance in an age of heterogenous identities.

Cape Verdean Blues

Shauna Barbosa, MFA '17 interrogates encounters and the weight of their space. Grounded in bodily experience and the phenomenology of femininity, this collection provides a sense of Cape Verdean identity. It uniquely captures the essence of “Sodade,” as it refers to the Cape Verdean American experience, and also the nostalgia and self-reflection one navigates through relationships lived, lost, and imagined.

Annotated African American Folktales

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar assemble a groundbreaking collection of folktales, myths, and legends that revitalizes a vibrant African American past to produce the most comprehensive and ambitious collection of African American folktales ever published in American literary history.

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

The works presented in Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic raise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist's prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures.

Black Women in America: a Historical Encyclopedia

This is a comprehensive guide to the lives of 641 individual black women, most of whom are significant on a national level. There are also entries to more than 150 general topics and organizations involving Black women.

The Body Is Not an Apology: the Power of Radical Self-Love

As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world--for us all.

Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement

hrough wide-ranging conversations with nine African American women-- several now in their nineties-- Bell has created an oral history that shines a light on their significant contributions in the twentieth-century fight for civil rights. An enduring testament to the vitality of women's all-too-often overlooked achievements while doing the work that needed to be done.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics

José Esteban Muñoz looks at how those outside the racial and sexual mainstream negotiate majority culture--not by aligning themselves with or against exclusionary works but rather by transforming these works for their own cultural purposes. Muñoz calls this process "disidentification," and through a study of its workings, he develops a new perspective on minority performance, survival, and activism.

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Presents Maya Angelou's poem illustrated by paintings and drawings of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Features biographies of both the author and artist.

Ralph Ellison

The definitive biography of an important American cultural intellectual of the twentieth century--Ralph Ellison, author of the masterpiece Invisible Man. In 1953, Ellison's explosive story of a young black man's search for truth and identity catapulted him to national prominence. Ellison earned many honors, but his failure to publish a second novel, despite years of striving, haunted him for the rest of his life. Rampersad provides a complex portrait of an unusual artist and human being. 

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

An introvert braves the cybersex, the pitfalls of eating out alone, the difficulties of weight gain, and other hurdles faced by shy people living in a world that urges us to be cool as "J" humorously recounts her life in all its awkward glory.

Aphrodite's Daughters: Three Modernist Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Aphrodite's Daughters introduces us to three amazing women who were at the forefront of all these developments, poetic iconoclasts who pioneered new and candidly erotic forms of female self-expression. Maureen Honey paints a vivid portrait of three African American women—Angelina Weld Grimké, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Mae V. Cowdery—who came from very different backgrounds but converged in late 1920s Harlem to leave a major mark on the literary landscape.

The African American Atlas

This definitive work is a visual and narrative portrait of the African-American culture, heritage, and people. Comprehensive in scope, this Atlas chronicles important periods in African-American history that have shaped the outlook, lives, and hopes of African Americans today. From the origins in Africa to the transatlantic journey, from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement, this highly illustrated reference work presents a well-balanced account of the diverse African-American culture and its people.

African American Dance: An Illustrated History

This pictorial history of African American dance traces its roots back to slavery and lists its characteristics. The photographs offer compelling glimpses into the world of slavery, minstrel show, the honky-tonk, the vaudeville stage, dance halls, nightclubs, movies, and more.

From Jim Crow to Jay-Z: Race, Rap, and the Performance of Masculinity

This multilayered study of the representation of black masculinity in musical and cultural performance takes aim at the reduction of African American male culture to stereotypes of deviance, misogyny, and excess. Broadening the significance of hip-hop culture by linking it to other expressive forms within popular culture, Miles White examines how these representations have both encouraged the demonization of young black males.

High Price: a Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society

Carl Hart is a cutting-edge neuroscientist--Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences--whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction. In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, he recalls his journey of self-discovery and weaves his past and present.

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity

The story of Christine Jorgensen, Americas first prominent transsexual, famously narrated trans embodiment in the postwar era. Her celebrity, however, has obscured other mid-century trans narratives-ones lived by African Americans such as Lucy Hicks Anderson and James McHarris. Their erasure from trans history masks the profound ways race has figured prominently in the construction and representation of transgender subjects.

Becoming

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.

Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States

Constructed through hip hop and the performance of Blackness, Muslim Cool is a way of engaging with the Black American experience by both Black and non-Black young Muslims that challenges racist norms in the U.S. as well as dominant ethnic and religious structures within American Muslim communities. Drawing on ethnographic research, Su'ad Abdul Khabeer illuminates the ways in which young and multiethnic U.S. Muslims draw on Blackness to construct their identities as Muslims.

Difficult Diasporas: The Transnational Feminist Aesthetic of the Black Atlantic

Samantha Pinto demonstrates the crucial role of aesthetics in defining the relationship between race, gender, and location. Thinking beyond national identity to include African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Black British literature, Difficult Diasporas brings together an innovative archive of twentieth-century texts marked by their break with conventional literary structures.

Robert Colescott: Recent Paintings

This exhibition was organized to represent the United States at the 47th Venice Biennale ; shown at the U.S. Pavilion in Venice from June 15 to November 9, 1997.

No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies

The follow-up to the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies, the edited collection No Tea, No Shade brings together nineteen essays from the next generation of scholars, activists, and community leaders doing work on black gender and sexuality. Building on the foundations laid by the earlier volume, this collection's contributors speak new truths about the black queer experience while exemplifying the codification of black queer studies as a rigorous and important field of study.

Muse: Mickalene Thomas - Photographs

Mickalene Thomas, known for her large-scale, multitextured and rhinestone-encrusted paintings of domestic interiors and portraits, identifies the photographic image as a defining touchstone for her practice. Thomas began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale, studying under David Hilliard—a pivotal experience for her as an artist. This volume is the first to gather together her various approaches to photography, including portraits, collages, Polaroids and other processes. The work is a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation.

Mo' Meta Blues: the World According to Questlove

Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. More than just a memoir, this is a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with post-modern blues.

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Decolonizing F Farming While Black

In 1920, 14 percent of all land-owning US farmers were black. Today less than 2 percent of farms are controlled by black people. Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.

Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment

A comprehensive, readable analysis of the key issues of the Black Lives Matter movement, this thought-provoking and compelling anthology features essays by some of the nation's most influential and respected criminal justice experts and legal scholars. Policing the Black Man explores and critiques the many ways the criminal justice system impacts the lives of African American boys and men at every stage of the criminal process, from arrest through sentencing.

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Welcome

This resource guide was created by Deja' Haley '20 and the Crossett Library staff to highlight and make more visible materials related to Black Studies.

Crossett Library strives to be both a mirror and a window for our community so that everyone can see a reflection of themselves and their experiences in our collection and also gain a further view into the experiences of others. 

The work on this resource guide is ongoing and evolving. We welcome feedback and suggestions! Please feel free to talk with us in person or email us.

Finding books at Crossett Library and beyond

Depending on your need, you can access our catalog in one of two different ways. If you are looking for physical items (books, DVDs, CDs, scores, etc.) accessible in either Crossett Library or Jennings Music Library, you can use the following search box. Alternatively, you can leave the box blank and click search for more search options, such as limiting your search by material type (for example, books or DVDs), by location (Crossett only, nothing from Jennings Music Library) or by language.

Search the library catalog only.

You can search more broadly, using the following search box below. This search uses Ebsco Discovery Services, and contains all the physical items in our library, as well as all journals and articles that we receive through our various databases. This is a much more broad and extensive search, and can be modified to search only full-text items, specific date ranges, languages, peer-reviewed, etc.

Search the catalog, databases, journals & articles.

To find materials in other libraries, try using Worldcat. If you find a title in Worldcat that is not held by Bennington College, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan by clicking on the "Request Item" button. Your book will be shipped from the lending library to Crossett Library, and you will receive an e-mail when it is ready for pickup.

If you have never used Interlibrary Loan before, you need to set up an account here.

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