Black Utopia: The History of an Idea from Black Nationalism to Afrofuturism


Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Alex Zamalin is assistant professor of political science and director of the African American Studies Program at University of Detroit Mercy. He is the author of African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation's Struggle for Racial Justice (2015); Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance (Columbia, 2017); and Antiracism: An Introduction (2019).


Alex Zamalin balances generosity and critique in a careful yet energetic and buoyant manner.--Joseph Winters, author of Hope Draped in Black: Race, Melancholy, and the Agony of Progress
Crisply written and compellingly argued, Black Utopia traces a remarkable genealogy of black utopian and anti-utopian thought from Martin Delany in the early nineteenth century to Octavia Butler in the early twenty-first. A versatile cultural historian and political theorist, Alex Zamalin reveals that the democratic hope for racial equality and social justice has historically overcome dystopian conditions, ranging from slavery to present-day racism, while animating the African American intellectual imagination.--Gene Andrew Jarrett, author of Representing the Race: A New Political History of African American Literature
Covering considerable ground with unusual eloquence and depth, Alex Zamalin brilliantly elucidates the contours of a black utopian tradition that poses a forceful challenge to our contemporary modes of political theorizing. Like the utopias and dystopias it delineates, Black Utopia both inspires and unsettles the reader in critically productive ways. This is first-rate scholarship.--Simon Stow, John Marshall Professor of Government and American Studies, College of William and Mary
Alex Zamalin's focus in this engaging text is the underside of the more familiar modes of African American writing. From this hidden ground, he captures imaginative creations that have been fed by African American doubts, fears, and despair about democracy and racial equality in America. These creations have been both utopian and dystopian as opposed to strategic and reformist. Beginning with Martin Delany and concluding with Octavia Butler, Black Utopia is an exquisite introduction to this more hidden strain of African American thought.--Paget Henry, author of Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy