Renewing Black Intellectual History: The Ideological and Material Foundations of African American Thought


  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-666-5
  • Publish date: March 2010
  • List Price: $45.95
  • Your Price: $39.06


  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-665-8
  • Publish date: June 2009
  • List Price: $163.00
  • Your Price: $138.55


Reflecting critically on the discipline of African American studies is a complicated undertaking, and making sense of the black American experience requires situating it within the larger cultural, political-economic, and ideological dynamics that shape American life. Renewing Black Intellectual History moves away from privileging racial commonality as the fulcrum of inquiry and moves toward observing the quality of the accounts scholars have rendered of black American life.

This book maps the changing conditions of black political practice and experience from Emancipation to Obama with excursions into the Jim Crow era, Black Power radicalism, and the Reagan revolt. Here are essays, classic and new, that define historically and conceptually discrete problems affecting black Americans as these problems have been shaped by both politics and scholarly fashion. A key goal of the book is to come to terms with the changing terrain of American life in view of major Civil Rights court decisions and legislation.

  • Renewing Black Intellectual History analyzes in rich detail the key movements, institutions, and individuals that shaped the lives of black Americans from the Jim Crow era to the Obama era.
  • By avoiding generalizations about race and by casting a critical eye on such notions as the “black community” and “black leadership,” the chapters here open up new lines of inquiry into the study of black American history, politics, and literature that will prove illuminating to advanced scholars as well as casual readers.
  • From Plessy v. Ferguson to Hurricane Katrina, the chapters in this book expose the various ways in which common assumptions about race and black identity continue to obscure and distort the analysis and discussion of race and inequality, both past and present.
  • Renewing Black Intellectual History brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to demonstrate that carefully grounded, historicist scholarship remains indispensable for gaining a clear understanding of the ways that black Americans as individuals and through political and social organizations responded to, contested, and reflected on the nation’s Jim Crow social order.
  • Original introductions to each part of the book put the chapters in context for student and general readers.


Introduction, Kenneth W. Warren and Adolph Reed Jr.

Part I: Emancipation, Reconstruction, and Retrenchment

Chapter 1: Frederick Douglass’s Life and Times: Progressive Rhetoric and the Problem of Constituency, Kenneth W. Warren

Chapter 2: “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”: The Political Economy of Racism in the United States, Judith Stein

Part II: The Jim Crow Era

Chapter 3: How Black “Folk” Survived in the Modern South: Industrialization, Popular Culture, and the Transformation of Black Working-Class Leisure in the Jim Crow South, William P. Jones

Chapter 4: An inevitable Drift? Oligarchy, Du Bois, and the Politics of Race between the Wars, Kenneth W. Warren

Chapter 5: The Educational Alliance and the Urban League in New York: Ethnic Elites and the Politics of Americanization and Racial Uplift, 1903-1932, Touré F. Reed

Chapter 6: The Chicago School of Human Ecology and the Ideology of Black Civic Elites, Preston H. Smith II

Chapter 7: “What a Pure, Healthy, Unified Race Can Accomplish”: Collective Reproduction and the Sexual Politics of Black Nationalism, Michele Mitchell

Chapter 8: Black Power Nationalism as Ethnic Pluralism: Postwar Liberalism’s Ethnic Paradigm in Black Radicalism, Dean E. Robinson

Part III: The Post-Jim Crow Era

Chapter 9: The Postmodern Moment in Black Literary and Cultural Studies, Madhu Dubey

Chapter 10: The “Color Line” Then and Now: The Souls of Black Folk and the Changing Context of Black American Politics, Adolph Reed Jr.

Conclusion, Kenneth W. Warren and Adolph Reed Jr.

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