- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; 1st edition (July 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807009172
- ISBN-13: 978-0807009178
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective 1st Edition
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A classic. The most cogent and detailed attempt to think through what acculturation of Africans in the Americas was like. --Albert J. Raboteau
From the Back Cover
In this provocative study, two anthropologists add a measured voice to the debate on the roots of African-American culture. Exploring the cultural ties between Africans and African-Americans, the authors argue that there was no single culture that enslaved Africans transported intact to the Americas.
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Today, that the analysis of the development of Afro-American culture should focus on `process' is no longer an issue; the works of renowned scholars such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Lawrence W. Levine are a testimony to it. In a sense, these academics vindicate Mintz and Price who, two decades earlier, have emphasised the need for more analytical subtlety, flexibility, and sound socio-historical research in Afro-American Studies. What is more, Mintz and Price are aware of the book's achievement, even though, in its 1992 re-edition, caution is still strong in the way they reassert their belief in a two decade-old thesis. For example, in the new preface, Mintz and Price repeat that the unavoidable fact in the study of Afro-America is `the humanity of the oppressed, and the inhumanity of the systems that oppressed them.' Both believe that such oppression `has by no means ended should be clear to everyone, as it is to us.'
The text of 'The Birth of African-American Culture', including introduction and conclusion, is eighty-five pages long; yet amazingly it covers a broad range of complex issues focused on slave society, from the origins and beginnings of Afro-American societies and cultures to questions of kinship and sex roles therein. In their rigorously balanced, albeit too tentative at times, analysis of Afro-American Culture the authors rightfully argue that the transfer of culture intact from Africa to the Americas is more fiction than reality. Mintz and Price believe that `Retentions' and `Survivals' are more the exception than the rule in any group's transport of beliefs and values from one locale to another (Europeans included).
The Birth of African-American Culture is thought provoking; it is still very useful in the scholarship on slavery, and issues of the origins and development of Afro-American culture. It is also a must-read for those Africans who refuse to be carelessly melted in the pot of global Blackness. Because of never-ending and multifaceted oppression, contemporary Africans and Afro-Americans still need to negotiate an awful number of complex issues before being `brothers' and `sisters': it has been so for centuries despite the numerous bonds that (do) exist between members of the Black Diaspora. Like Mintz and Price, it is my profound conviction that `the nature of oppression, while obvious in its most familiar forms, involves subtleties as well, one of these being the way it divides and confuses honest [souls] by perpetuating suspicion and fear.' However, in its future editions, 'The Birth of African-American Culture''s authors need to:
(1) Go beyond offering startegies/approaches to the study of the Afro-American past, and present results of such studies, albeit selectively, if only to corroborate and strengthen their own thesis/be bolder in their arguments. I believe that Mintz and Price missed this opportunity two decades after the first publication of their book but, still, it can be done;
(2) Spend time to explain to the reader how `Caribbeanist' scholars like themselves can write about (Afro-) `American' culture. In other words the intertwined issues of what `America' is, what `Americans' are and how they relate to the subject matter of 'The Birth of African-American Culture' must be tackled in much detail and clarity.
In other words, they popped up outta nowhere and are simply broad ideas that coincidentally share the same ideas as those of West Africa. Somehow they manage to admit that it is a retention without stating it's a retention: "The wood-carving of the Maroons, like their naming, cicatrization, and other aesthetic systems, then appears to be highly creative and to be "African" more in terms of deep-level cultural rules or principles than in terms of formal continuities: in short, a highly adaptive subsystem, responsive to the changing social environments of the artists and critics who continue to carry it forward."
*formal continuity = something passed down
Some continuities/Africanisms are like this, and we don't know it, others are more unconscious in nature and arise out of collective memory and/or genetic memory.
1.) Africans are naturally highly creative
2.) deep-level cultural rules and/or principles are retentions/africanisms...oops lol
3.) transmutations within cultures is common, African culture is highly fluid and is interdependent, needing stimulation of various members that makes the culture what it is. It is highly adaptable and the beauty of it, is that it continues to be AFRICAN or of African origin even with changes. That's how we're able to create what we create. Transmutations don't gut the CORE of a culture, meaning the core remains intact, but you'll see surface changes/differences. For instance, how R&B/Soul/Gospel and Jazz is the CORE of hip-hop. How JAZZ dances (which come from old African dances) are the core for breakdance moves.
This book needs to be burned lol.
Please do yourself a favor and purchase these books with actual credibility and SENSE:
Africanisms in America
The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America
Black Culture and Black Consciousness
Just start there