PAUL GILROY QUESTIONS FOR ENGLISH 492 THEORY, CSU FULLERTON
PAUL GILROY, FROM THE BLACK ATLANTIC: MODERNITY AND DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS
Assigned: Gilroy, Paul. From The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (2556-75 in Leitch, Vincent B. and William E. Cain, eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93292-8.)
From The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness
1. On 2556 of The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Paul Gilroy begins by suggesting that "Striving to be both European and black requires some specific forms of double consciousness" (2557 bottom). From 2557-60, how does he go on to introduce the difficulties faced by (and the opportunities presented to) those who would like to reflect productively on the situation and consciousness of black people who, as Gilroy puts it, "stand between (at least) two great cultural assemblages . . ." (2557 top). Why, above all, have such critical reflections so often been bound by a kind of "cultural nationalism" (2557 lower middle) or even "ethnic absolutisms" (2558 lower top) that seem more likely to hinder understanding than to promote it?
2. On 2560-65 of The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Paul Gilroy continues with his critique of the assumptions underlying cultural studies. What grounds does he offer for this critique, and how does he analyze the role of Western aesthetics in the problems he identifies? At the same time, what positive model of cultural analysis does he also bring up on these pages?
3. On 2565 (bottom) - 68 of The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Paul Gilroy mentions a number of historical events and individuals who he says could, with sufficient attention, be very important to our understanding of the construction of "Englishness" in Great Britain. Choose a few of these events or individuals and try to determine why Gilroy considers them significant as he moves towards articulation of his idea of a Black Atlantic.
4. On 2569-75 of The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Paul Gilroy most fully addresses what he means by a "Black Atlantic." How do you understand this concept and its value as a way of talking about black (but not only black) history, culture, and consciousness? Further, at several points in these pages, Gilroy pursues his analysis by means of nautical references: ships, sailors, ocean travel. What do these references add to our understanding of the "Black Atlantic" concept that Gilroy is developing?