Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Navigating the African Diaspora: The Anthropology of Invisibility

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Navigating the African Diaspora: The Anthropology of Invisibility

Article excerpt

Navigating the African Diaspora: The Anthropology of Invisibility. By Donald Martin Carter. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Pp. 362; photographs, bibliography, index. $30.00 paper.

In this strikingly told tale, anthropologist Donald Martin Carter offers his readers a beautifully written story of exile, personal and collective. In it, Carter tells the story of diaspora, not one, but many throughout history and how they are linked through a pervasive experience of invisibility. Carter tells us, "This project is the result of an itinerant scholar traveling the byways of academic life" (p. xiii). His work, through narrative exposition and field based research, is to make the connections he sees visible to others. Throughout the book, Carter seeks to expose his personal experience of "navigating diaspora" and to think about how the collective experience of diaspora is represented. Navigating the African Diaspora goes beyond the analysis of the political economy of migration to look at the meanings these journeys create for those on them and those seeking to understand them. His notion of diaspora encompasses the voluntary and involuntary movement of Africans historically and into the present. He seeks to understand not merely the power that propels people to seek lives elsewhere, beyond the borders of their home countries, but also, the power that renders particular categories of persons in particular places and times invisible. Carter takes his notion of invisibility in part from the work of the scholar and activist Franz Fanon, as well as James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison. …

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