Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Patrick Manning's "The African Diaspora"

Patrick Manning is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History and Director of the World History Center at the University of Pittsburgh and president of the World History Network, a nonprofit corporation fostering research in world history. His books include Slavery and African Life, Migration in World History, and Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The African Diaspora: A History Through Culture, and reported the following:
Page 99 of The African Diaspora: A History through Culture traces the movement of captive Africans across the Atlantic from 1600 to 1800, identifying points of origin and destination, and discussing social conflict and change in both Africa and the Americas. That page reflects the book’s recurring linkages among regions of Africa and the Americas, the transformations brought by social struggles, and the representation of black experience in material and expressive culture. Enslavement brought a struggle for survival among black people. Earlier pages explore the growing connections among African peoples; later pages investigate the succeeding struggles for emancipation, for citizenship, and for social equality. The book explores these issues from 1400 to the present for Africa, the Americas, and for black populations throughout the Old World; it concludes with big questions about the past and the future.

I hope that this story of one-seventh of all humanity shows how much of our modern world results from the creative energies of black people. The book is a reaffirmation of the continuing exchanges among black people worldwide; it is a pointed critique of those visions of modernity that fail to explore injustice, neglect the roles of black people at every level of society, and leave aside the African continent. It is a global history from the bottom up.
Read an excerpt from The African Diaspora, and learn more about the book at the Columbia University Press website.

Learn more about Patrick Manning's research and teaching at his World History Network webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue