The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture (Paperback)
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African American culture is often considered expressive, dramatic, and even defiant. In The Sovereignty of Quiet, Kevin Quashie explores quiet as a different kind of expressiveness, one which characterizes a person’s desires, ambitions, hungers, vulnerabilities, and fears. Quiet is a metaphor for the inner life, and as such, enables a more nuanced understanding of black culture.
The book revisits such iconic moments as Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and Elizabeth Alexander’s reading at the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. Quashie also examines such landmark texts as Gwendolyn Brooks’s Maud Martha, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Toni Morrison’s Sula to move beyond the emphasis on resistance, and to suggest that concepts like surrender, dreaming, and waiting can remind us of the wealth of black humanity.
About the Author
KEVIN QUASHIE is an associate professor of Afro-American studies at Smith College. He is the author of Black Women, Identity, and Cultural Theory: (Un)Becoming the Subject (Rutgers University Press).
"The Sovereignty of Quiet is a profound and excellent look at quiet and its relationship with black identity, black culture, and existentialism. With impeccable scholarship, beautiful writing, and powerful arguments, Quashie makes a fabulous contribution to the field. A success!"
— Debra Walker King
"With fluid and beautiful prose, Quashie’s book not only offers readers another way to think about African American selfhood, but also other ways to approach the very act of reading itself."
— Emily Bernard
"Quashie challenges the general assumption that African American commentary is expressed in loud voices as he studies the often-overlooked internal conflicts of 'black culture'. His intertwining of both factual and fictional situations provides a brilliant and intriguiging insight that ultimately suggests an overwhelming gentle message about African American protest and resistance. Recommended."