How the West Was One

Robin D. G. Kelley

in Rethinking American History in a Global Age

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230576
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936034 | DOI:
How the West Was One

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This chapter uncovers a vision of African American history as an Atlantic story, and not simply an American one. It introduces and defines the term “diaspora,” and reveals that historians treat overlapping diasporas as a group of marginalized identities. The chapter argues that a reframing of African American history can significantly remap American history through its whole extent, and not merely in the era of slavery. It also considers the foundational questions that are central to Africa diaspora studies, and examines the limits of diaspora. The concept of Black internationalism and the use of a diasporic approach towards U.S. history are discussed.

Keywords: African American history; diaspora; marginalized identities; Africa diaspora studies; Black internationalism; diasporic approach

Chapter.  11712 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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