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Postcolonial ContraventionsCultural Readings of Race, Imperialism and Transnationalism$
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Laura Chrisman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780719058271

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719058271.001.0001

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Journeying to death: Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic

Journeying to death: Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic

(p.73) 4 Journeying to death: Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic
Postcolonial Contraventions

Laura Chrisman

Manchester University Press

This chapter emphasizes Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic, which reveals that a culture is not specifically African, American, Caribbean or British, but all of these at once, a black Atlantic culture whose themes and techniques transcend ethnicity and nationality to produce something new and, until now, unremarked. Gilroy's concept of a black Atlantic offers a political and cultural corrective that argues for the cross-national, cross-ethnic basis and dynamics of black diasporic identity and culture. His characterisation of nationalism tends not to acknowledge diversities, but, rather, targets generalized ethnicist nationalism as the only kind of contemporary nationalism that afflicts both white and black communities in identical ways. Gilroy's ideology challenges Marxist, economic and philosophical accounts of the development of modernity as a self-contained European process, based on principles and practices of rationality, economic productivism, Enlightenment egalitarianism and wage labour.

Keywords:   black Atlantic culture, ethnicity, ethnicist nationalism, Enlightenment egalitarianism, economic productivism, black diasporic identity

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