Academic journal article Ethnic Studies Review

Continuing Perspectives on the Black Diaspora

Academic journal article Ethnic Studies Review

Continuing Perspectives on the Black Diaspora

Article excerpt

Continuing Perspectives on the Black Diaspora. Revised Edition. Eds. Aubrey W. Bonnett and Calvin B. Holder. (Landam, MD: University Press of America, 2009). vii-xxi, 263 pp., $38.00 paper.

As a follow-up to their Emerging Perspectives on the Black Diaspora (published in 1990), authors/editors Aubrey Bonnett and Calvin Holder have given another serious treatment of the African diaspora. In this new volume, they take on new trends, ones that are often underappreciated or neglected within the scholarly community. Continuing Perspectives proffers an examination of some of the "new and nuanced challenges which forcibly test the themes of persistence and resilience" of the black diaspora communities (xvii). As the authors proclaim in their introduction, "the essays in this volume [. . .] try to look back, access current positions, and project into the future and, as such, attempt to make an ongoing contribution to the scholarship and pedagogy in this multi disciplinary, academic field" (xvii). With this objective in mind, these authors have fallen short at times through this book.

The book is divided into five sections (excluding an introduction) which address various geographic regions around the world (i.e., Europe and Asia, the Caribbean, North America-Canada/U.S.A, respectively), discuss unique aspects of the diaspora, and posit theoretical ideas about the diaspora seen through media and political sovereignty. All sections are subdivided into two research essays each, except for the part devoted to North America which receives three essays. The organization of this book provides a detailed evolution of thought regarding the diaspora and its impact across the globe. In particular, by concentrating on regions, the editors have included evaluations of the diaspora in geographic regions that are often overlooked in research.

Despite this design of the collection, one is reticent to proclaim this book an outright success. The biggest drawback to the book is its lack of empirical research. Most of the essays simply synthesize disparate sources for their own means, ignoring more salient and statistical evidence. While there can be value in synthesis, this collection struggles in this area because of the inconsistence in research. For example, several essays cite research varying across four decades, sometimes from the mid 1940's to late 1980's. This information garnered from this research is not presented as comprehensive or historical; instead, the information is proffered as if in a vacuum without context to the social, political, and/or economic forces at work that created the research. …

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