Recent Working Papers

  1. Ethnic Differentiation, Conflict and Solidarity in the Black Diaspora

by Perry Mars, Professor
Department of Africana Studies
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Wayne State University

Unlike the variety of theses that conceptualize black diasporic identity in terms solely of its essential cultural content, the contention here is that black diasporic identity is intrinsically political. Black diasporic culture itself has been     born largely in defiance and opposition against racially and politically oppressive laws and system. While Africanist religions, music and life styles are important defining qualities of the black diaspora, such elements of self expression cannot be properly understood in isolation from the protest, resistance and rebellion they often represent in diasporic political life. Yet the political is often muted in much of the post colonial literature on black diasporic identity.The idea, for example, of black dispora culture constituting a cohesive and integrated whole, underestimates the differentiation, conflicts and tendencies towards fragmentation which exist in this rather ill-defined universe. However, far from representing the absolute fragmentation of forces so often assumed in post modernist thought, the disintegrating tendencies observed in this contentious political terrain would seem to be more a dynamic striving for synthesis, often manifesting itself in recurrent efforts towards solidarity both within and across ethnicity, nation and class. Such solidarity efforts are necessary to realize the basic objectives of expanding the horizons of liberation and     empowerment on the part of disadvantaged communities throughout the black diaspora.

Perry Mars is the author of Ideology and Change: The Transformation of the Caribbean Left (Wayne State
University Press, 1998) and co-editor with Alma H Young of Caribbean Labor and Politics: Legacies of Cheddi Jagan and Michael Manley (WSU Press, 2004).


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