The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


The Insistent Call: Rhetorical Moments in Black Anticolonialism, 1929-1937

Submitted by syntaxfactory on November 16, 2012 - 2:55pm

The Insistent Call: Rhetorical Moments in Black Anticolonialism, 1929-1937
Aric Putnam

Living in the shadow of slavery, nineteenth-century black Americans valued the personal memories and cultural practices of their African heritage. They resisted efforts to de-Africanize their values and invoked their African roots in public arguments about black identity and place in the “new” world. At the outset of the twentieth century many still saw Africa primarily as the source of a common cultural past. But after the 1920s, the perceived meaning of African heritage shifted.

In The Insistent Call, Aric Putnam studies the rhetoric of newspapers, literature, and political pamphlets that expressed this shift. He demonstrates that as people of African descent debated the United States’ occupation of Haiti, the Liberian labor crisis, and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, they formed a new collective identity, one that understood the African Diaspora in primarily political rather than cultural terms.
In addition to uncovering a neglected period in the history of black rhetoric, Putnam shows how rhetoric that articulates the interests of a population not defined by the boundaries of a state can still motivate collective action and influence policies.

“This book clearly articulates what those of us working in the field know intuitively but have not studied in the systematic way this author is doing, namely, that there are distinct rhetorical shifts in how diaspora is talked about before and after the Harlem Renaissance.”--Michelle Ann Stephens, author of Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imagery of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914-1962

Aric Putnam is associate professor of communication at the College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University.

$22.95, paper, 168 pages, ISBN 978-1-55849-978-2

To place orders: University of Massachusetts Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your independent bookstore.

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