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7 Slave Barracks Aristocrats: Islam and the Orient in the Work of Gilberto Freyre

Paul Amar Indiana University Press ePub

Isfahani-Hammond explores how Gilberto Freyre invokes Islam and the Orient—via a certain Africa—to theorize a national history constituted by the Oriental luxury of the plantation economy and a cultural synthesis based on eroticized systems of domination. It argues that Freyre’s work represents an intermittent celebration of the power of black writing and of sensualism of Moorish North African Arab-Berber civilization. Though he produces a model of seigniorial subjectivity that speaks for both masters and slaves, the Malê, with his tiá and his “blue ink,” also speaks within his narrative, disrupting it and acting in opposition to it even as Freyre struggles to seize the power of the rebel Malê and the sensuality of the female Moor and to insert these subjects into a civilizational trajectory that begins in the East, via Africa, and ends in Brazil.

In Orientalism (1978), Edward Said charts European representations that produce the East not only as the differential marker of Europe but as inherently subject to the West. In Gilberto Freyre’s sociology of Brazilian plantation society, Casa-Grande e Senzala (The Plantation Manor and the Slave Barracks, 1933),1 he argues that Brazil has a unique racial democracy based on the “slack balance of antagonisms” between masters and slaves that is the legacy of Moorish domination of the Iberian Peninsula.2 The resonance of the West’s imaginative geography of the Orient and Freyre’s imaginative genealogy of Brazilian society is enlightened by juxtaposing two key dimensions of Casa-Grande e Senzala: the syncretic, “Afro-European” character of the Portuguese following five hundred years of Moorish rule and the impact of the East via the Malês, the enslaved and freed African Muslims who organized the most formidable urban slave uprising in the history of the Americas in 1835 in Salvador da Bahia.3

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1 After Modernization: Globalization and the African Dilemma

Peter J Bloom Indiana University Press ePub

Percy C. Hintzen

I recall a meeting that I attended at a time when media reports were circulating raising concerns about South Asia as a cheap location for computer programming and software development. The value of the U.S. dollar was falling on international currency markets, which was having a negative effect on industry profits in South Asia. Increasingly the region was being rendered less competitive relative to the United States. In response, high-tech companies began shifting their operations back to the United States, generating increasing demand for programmers and computer engineers. With increasing U.S. demand came rising salaries and compensation packages driving costs in an upward spiral. The solution, discussed and proposed, was to shift computer programming and software engineering functions to Africa—the last bastion of cheap production in an increasingly competitive globalized economy. This is a particular case of a general trend where foreign direct investments in Africa are seen as a solution to a current crisis of global capitalism that demands reallocation in global production to areas where remuneration and transaction costs are cheapest and where there is rising consumer demand for global products and services.

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25. Newport

David M. Jordan Indiana University Press ePub

JUST BEFORE STARTING EAST, WARREN RECEIVED a note from his father-in-law, advising him that the city of New York had created a Department of Docks & Piers and was looking for a first-class engineer to head it. Warren asked Humphreys for a letter of recommendation, and the latter said he would “do all in my power to support you for the place you mention or any other in which I can serve you.” Humphreys furnished him with a letter to the city Superintendent of Docks, saying that Warren was “gifted by nature with brilliant talents . . . in a service of twenty years a hard student, a close observer, an indefatigable worker, a man of . . . energy and zeal.” Nothing, however, came of the overture. Warren noted that he “never had occasion to use” Humphreys’ letter, apparently because he felt the position would be too political, and he remained in the army, though he was forever considering—so he said—various ways to make big money in civilian life.1

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3. Black Titanic: Pirating the White Star Liner

Matthias Krings Indiana University Press ePub

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES on four African appropriations of the Hollywood movie Titanic (James Cameron, 1997), which at the time of its release in 1997, set a new benchmark for Hollywood filmmaking. It was the first film ever made whose budget reached an incredible 200 million U.S. dollars and whose box office receipts totaled 1.8 billion. Having won eleven Oscars, the movie still ranks among the three most successful films ever made (Parisi 1998: 223). Cameron’s preoccupation with size (Keller 1999) echoes the nature of the historical R.M.S. Titanic itself, which like the movie, broke a number of records in terms of size, luxury, and cost at the time of her construction. The Titanic’s foundering on April 15, 1912, during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, turned the ship into a myth and, in a sense, made her “unsinkable” after all (Howells 1999). The film, unlike the historical ship, was not only kept afloat but even “floated triumphantly,” wrote one of its American critics (Bernstein 1999: 16). That is perhaps something like the irony of history. Cameron’s film has since become a signifier of success—in the Global North and no less in the Global South, as is aptly demonstrated by the examples I discuss in this chapter.

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The Problem of Citizenship, the Question of Crime, and the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a review of Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2011)

Michael Ralph

RUTHIE GILMORE, THE geographer and social theorist, once began a public lecture by noting, “There is one black man serving a term in the White House, and about one million black men serving terms in the big house . . .” Gilmore’s clever quip partly serves to deter the facile notion that the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States in 2008 was a uniform triumph for all African Americans. But Gilmore is likewise suggesting that statistics on race and crime have become a way to avoid engaging with the economic and political conditions that have given rise to what many now call the “prison boom” during the latter part of the twentieth century. Several scholars have noted that, relative to white Americans, African Americans are now incarcerated at nearly twice the rate during the era of legalized segregation. Fewer have explored the technologies of social differentiation that support these disparities. For these and other reasons, Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America [hereafter Condemnation] is a welcome addition to the fields of criminology and the history of race in the United States, but also to American and African American histories more broadly, as well as the history of science. In taking seriously the crucial role that statistics have played in shaping protocols of social differentiation and inscribing economic and political hierarchies, Muhammad enriches several fields of inquiry simultaneously. Perhaps most notably, Condemnation of Blackness yields original scholarly conclusions about the problem of citizenship, the question of crime, and the origin of the Civil Rights Movement in U.S. history.

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