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Who Set You Flowin'? The African-American Migration Narrative (Race and American Culture) Hardcover – May 25, 1995

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195088964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195088960
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,714,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Farah Griffin is a new kind of intellectual of the younger generation. She goes beyond the fashionable mantra of Race, Gender, and Class by concretely situating black people constructing themselves as a heterogeneous community on the move geographically, culturally, politically, and existentially."--Cornel West, Harvard University.

"Because Griffin utilizes diverse cultural works, from Billie Holiday, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Jacob Lawrence, Toni Morrison, and others, as extended examples and for illustrations, she lends to her 'migration narrative' discourse a familiarity that the general reader can identify with, and that orientation will attract a wide readership inside and outside the Academy."--Booklist

"In this new and suggestive study Griffin places many different forms of expression into a relationship with each other: Literary texts from Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jean Toomer, and Richard Wright to Dorothy West, LeRoi Jones, and Toni Morrison, visual arts from Jacob Lawrence's paintings to FSA photographs, music from Billie Holiday to Stevie Wonder, and varied documentary evidence are considered part of a larger 'migration narrative' that swept an urbanizing black America in the twentieth century. Inspired by Georg Simmel's famous essay 'The Stranger,' this book attempts to reconstruct the inwardness of the tension between belonging and alienation, between ancestry and migration, experienced by a people in motion."--Werner Sollors, Harvard University

"Moving brilliantly across a vast range of textual spaces and political geographies, Farah Griffin flows with the fierce independence and passionate commitment of the migrants whose paths she charts. 'Who Set You Flowin'?' is in every way an exemplary work of U.S. cultural studies."--Eric Lott, University of Virginia

"Farah Jasmine Griffin has written a bold and brilliant book, destined to assume a prominent place in the realms of American and African American literary, cultural, and historical studies. In its carefully contextualized, finely nuanced readings of texts as varied as the paintings of Jacob Lawrence, the poetry of Jean Toomer and Gwendolyn Brooks, the prose of Richard Wright and Toni Morrison, the blues of Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith, and the rap lyrics of Grand Master Flash and Arrested Development, Who Set You Flowin'? is a model of interdisciplinary scholarship that breathes new life into such old pardigms as `the Great Migration,' `the rural folk,' and `the urban masses.' Informative, fascinating, and finely crafted. A pleasure to read."--Ann duCille, Wesleyan University

"...lively and intelligent....a fascinating glimpse into one of this century's most influential and neglected areas of American literature."--The Southern Quarterly

About the Author

Farah Jasmine Griffin, Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By QiWhi on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Farah Jasmine Griffin's invaluable book brings together a wide variety of sources -- from novels and poetry to photography and music lyrics -- to illustrate how migration has impacted African-American life and art. The writing is smooth and concise, but I particularly enjoyed the way Griffin creates a new vocabulary for discussing urban/rural cultural representations. She also looks at the way gender impacts migration narratives, which I found helpful. This work would be extremely helpful to anyone studying African-American literature, particularly Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, or Gloria Naylor as well as blues singers and the artist, Jacob Lawrence.
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