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Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (Difference Incorporated) Paperback – January 24, 2012

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Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (Difference Incorporated) + Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change (Critical Youth Studies)
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Product Details

  • Series: Difference Incorporated
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816675465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816675463
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership, Erica R. Edwards has constructed a radical re-imagining of black political culture and an alternative narrative of its historical emergence. By critically examining the myths of charismatic leaders as the singular progenitors of liberation, Edwards takes issue with the representations of the black freedom movement most frequently rehearsed by biographers, social historians, and political scholars of the modern era. The book is a powerful recapturing of lost words, lost worlds." —Cedric J. Robinson, University of California, Santa Barbara

About the Author

Erica R. Edwards is assistant professor of English at the University of California, Riverside.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RC on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Erica Edwards has provided us one the best books on leadership since the contributions of Ronald Heifetz and Howard Gardner. In wonderful prose, she explains the myth of charisma--that social change and progress comes with a charismatic leader--and refutes it with the examination of black fictional works. These works provide us an archive of the efforts of ordinary people to resist political, economic and social subordination. The book then pulls out the social costs of ascribing to the myth of charisma and overlooking the genuine source of progress towards greater forms of equality.

This leadership book is all the more remarkable because the author comes to the topic through literary criticism. Once again, the field of leadership studies benefits from the disciplinary lens of another field. In this regard, Edwards brings to mind the masterful work of James Scott especially Domination and the Arts of Resistance.

In its broadest form, this book provides a cautionary tale and welcome respite from the majority of leadership books that distill the greatness of corporate executives in a thinly veiled echo of the great man theory and charismatic leadership. The executives of the corporate sector will not provide the leadership that the world needs to address the "wicked problems" of peace, sustainability, equality, etc. These problems, like the problem of racial and gender equality that Edwards addresses, require bottom up leadership, as she explains so well.
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