Fourth Of July Essay

1018 words - 5 pages

The essay “Uses of Diaspora” by the literary theorist Brent Hayes Edwards, critically demonstrates the different usage of the term African diaspora by exposing the historical, cultural, and political aspect of the term. Edwards clearly states his need to “excavate a historical and politicized sense of diaspora” in his own work by “focusing on black cultural politics in the interwar period particularly in the Harlem Renaissance and pre-Negritude Fran cophone activity in France and West Africa”(Edwards 45). The author initially starts his essay by continuing off the scholar Caching Toloyan signal call to “return to diaspora” because it “is in danger of becoming a promiscuously capacious ...view middle of the document...

He discuses how Gilroy “continually threatens to conflate diaspora and its particular history of the usage in black cultural politics.” Gilroy calls the phrase “black Atlantic” a phrase rapidly being canonized, although Edwards does mention, “I am not suggesting that he should limit the terms object of study” (45). Clearly Edwards, is acknowledging Gilroy’s study where he not fully agrees with how “black Atlantic ”conflates with diaspora because it denotes its historical content with the arduous past of Pan- Africanism regarding the small p vs. capital P. Edwards use of Gilroy comes out as confusing because he clearly stated that he aims to historicize and politicize a sense of diaspora via the lens of his own “work.” However, by using Gilroy’s argument it leaves the reader confused whether he agrees or disagrees with him.
Also, Edwards describes the scholar W.E. B. Du Bois work, who organized the Pan-African Congress where they specifically articulated directly in opposition to Marcus Garvey’s populist and racialist version of “Back to Africa”(49). Both scholars clearly opposed to each other’s beliefs because Du Bois honored “Pan-Africanism” which consisted of diversity and various ideologies whereas Garvey believed that we should be more self-sufficient and build our own infrastructure back in Africa, not the whole world. Edwards exceptionally states Dubois and Garvey’s arguments on his essay but lacks on defining whether he agrees or disagrees, which once again make it complicated for the reader to comprehend his ideas.
Edwards discusses scholarly George Shepperson’s work, which made a huge contribution to the term African diaspora and coined the term. He states how She person suggest “all-African” as a “collective term”(50) and how he uses the term to precisely push beyond the ways that “Pan-African” limits the scope of analysis. According to Edwards, Shepperson’s argument asserts that “diaspora studies would not involve not only attention to the ‘idea and practice of unity’ (D, 168-69) but also an understanding of slavery influenced by the historical work of Du Bois and C.L.R. James (50). Here, Edwards thoroughly discusses Shepperson’s...

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