Friday, June 6, 2008
Florida African Diaspora Studies Consortium (FLASC)
What: Caribbean Book and Art Fair
When: June 20 and 21, 2008 - Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Miramar City Hall, 2300 Civic Center Place • Miramar, FL 33025
Contact: Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies - 786-537-5897 - email@example.com
Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones by Carole Boyce-Davies
Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915–1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried in London’s Highgate Cemetery, to the left of Karl Marx—a location that Boyce Davies finds fitting given how Jones expanded Marxism-Leninism to incorporate gender and race in her political critique and activism.
Claudia Cumberbatch Jones was born in Trinidad. In 1924, she moved to New York, where she lived for the next thirty years. She was active in the Communist Party from her early twenties onward. A talented writer and speaker, she traveled throughout the United States lecturing and organizing. In the early 1950s, she wrote a well-known column, “Half the World,” for the Daily Worker. As the U.S. government intensified its efforts to prosecute communists, Jones was arrested several times. She served nearly a year in a U.S. prison before being deported and given asylum by Great Britain in 1955. There she founded The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News and the Caribbean Carnival, an annual London festival that continues today as the Notting Hill Carnival. Boyce Davies examines Jones’s thought and journalism, her political and community organizing, and poetry that the activist wrote while she was imprisoned. Looking at the contents of the FBI file on Jones, Boyce Davies contrasts Jones’s own narration of her life with the federal government’s. Left of Karl Marx establishes Jones as a significant figure within Caribbean intellectual traditions, black U.S. feminism, and the history of communism.
“Carole Boyce Davies has rendered a unique service in restoring to proper recognition the life and achievements of the Trinidad-born political activist and feminist Claudia Jones. From the turbulent struggles of Harlem, U.S.A. in the 1930s and 1940s to London in the 1950s and 1960s, Claudia Jones became a symbol of resistance and the standard by which others would measure their own integrity of commitment. Left of Karl Marx is the biography of an era of the most intense ideological combat—where reputations were assassinated and careers erased by a single rumor of incorrect political affiliation. Here is the story of a singular triumph whose legacy has nourished the lives of another generation.”—George Lamming, author of In the Castle of My Skin and The Pleasures of Exile
“This book fills a lacuna in the historical understanding of black left radicalism and socialist-oriented feminism in the United States and the Caribbean. In this era of twenty-first-century corporate globalization, it reunites us with a transnational radical and anti-capitalist past through the examination of the extraordinary life, work, and political philosophy of Claudia Jones. This work reminds us that the U.S. and British radical traditions had diverse memberships, which included black, communist, and feminist women of whom Trinidad-born Claudia Jones was a remarkable example. Carole Boyce Davies has given us a well-researched, detailed analysis of this communist, feminist, intellectual, activist, and artistic woman of Caribbean origin. This is a long-awaited treasure for which many will be eternally grateful.”—Rhoda E. Reddock, author of Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities
“Carole Boyce Davies has vividly brought to life the work and struggles of Claudia Jones in the U.S.A. and Great Britain in her new book, Left of Karl Marx. Boyce Davies possesses that unique combination of being both a scholarly researcher and a writer capable of clear and persuasive language. The reader is presented with a remarkably readable and informative study of a woman who was equally adept in her writing and public speaking on feminism, and as a social pioneer, a political analyst, and an avowed adversary of racism. This book removes Claudia Jones from the shadow of the great bust of Marx to the front row of the black activists and thinkers of the twentieth century, and that is where she belongs.”—Donald Hinds, author of Journey to an Illusion: The West Indian in Britain
Carole Boyce Davies is Professor of African–New World Studies and English at Florida International University. She is the author of Black Women, Writing, and Identity: Migrations of the Subject; the editor of the Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (forthcoming) and Decolonizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies; and a coeditor of The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities.
Currently, Dr. Boyce-Davies is preparing an edition of the writings of Claudia Jones entitled Beyond Containment: Claudia Jones, Activism, Clarity and Vision. Dr. Boyce Davies will be joining Cornell in Fall 2008.
[BIO continued] Dr. Carole Boyce Davies held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994) and Left of Karl Marx. Claudia Jones, Black/Communist/Woman (Duke University Press, forthcoming, 2007). In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Boyce-Davies has also published the following critical anthologies: Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature (Africa World Press, 1986); Out of the Kumbla. Caribbean Women and Literature (Africa World Press, 1990); and a two-volume collection of critical and creative writing entitled Moving Beyond Boundaries (New York University Press, 1995): International Dimensions of Black Women's Writing (volume 1), and Black Women's Diasporas (volume 2). She is co-editor with Ali Mazrui and Isidore Okpewho of The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (Indiana University Press, 1999) and Decolonizing the Academy. African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003).
She is general editor of The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora(Oxford: ABC-CLIO, forthcoming, 2007), a two-volume encyclopedia. Currently, Dr. Boyce Davies is writing a series of personal reflections called Caribbean Spaces. Between the Twilight Zone and the Underground Railroad, dealing with the issue of transnational Caribbean/American black identity.
Florida African Diaspora Studies Consortium (FLASC)
The African Diaspora refers to the dispersal of African peoples all over the world through voluntary, forced and induced migrations. These have resulted, thereby, in the relocation and re-definition of African peoples in a range of now international locations and their recreation and reformation of these cultures wherever they exist.
Florida African Diaspora Studies Consortium is dedicated to pursuing African Diaspora studies initiatives beginning in south Florida and extending nationally and internationally. We are located in South Florida, and our primary umbrella is FLASC – Florida Africana Studies consortium. Our primary emphases have been spearheaded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, “Intersections of African Diaspora Knowledge Communities” to develop a range of programs and projects intended to make South Florida a leading site for African Diaspora Studies as we provide the nexus for intersections between the academy, the community and the public schools.