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The Sound of Culture
Diaspora and Black Technopoetics
Louis Chude-Sokei




Wesleyan
2015 • 280 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Criticism - African American / Literary Criticism - Caribbean & Latin American / Literary Criticism - Science Fiction

$27.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7577-7
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7576-0

$21.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7578-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)



Investigates the parallel and intertwined histories of race, technology, and science fiction

The Sound of Culture explores the histories of race and technology in a world made by slavery, colonialism, and industrialization. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and moving through to the twenty-first, the book argues for the dependent nature of those histories. Looking at American, British, and Caribbean literature, it distills a diverse range of subject matter: minstrelsy, Victorian science fiction, cybertheory, and artificial intelligence. All of these facets, according to Louis Chude-Sokei, are part of a history in which music has been central to the equation that links blacks and machines. As Chude-Sokei shows, science fiction itself has roots in racial anxieties and he traces those anxieties across two centuries and a range of writers and thinkers—from Samuel Butler, Herman Melville, and Edgar Rice Burroughs to Sigmund Freud, William Gibson, and Donna Haraway, to Norbert Weiner, Sylvia Wynter, and Samuel R. Delany.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

The Sound of Culture is a brilliant project at the intersection of Caribbean thought, science fiction, minstrelsy, posthumanism, and cybernetics. Chude-Sokei is a scholar unafraid to cross borders as he tracks transnational culture through the lens of race and technology.”—De Witt Douglas Kilgore, author of Astrofuturism: Science, Race and Visions of Utopia in Space

“With the daring and precision of an inspired sound engineer, Louis Chude-Sokei skillfully plays the ontological mixing board, creating a masterpiece in which music, literature, science, and cultural theory are dubbed in and out of the text. This startling book is an echo chamber where discourses of race and technology reverberate, confounding outdated notions of the limits of a black poetics.”Carolyn Cooper, author of Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture At Large

“In this bracingly original book, Louis Chude-Sokei crosses neuromancy with “negromancy” (as he calls it), calling up the ghosts of historical memory and conjuring new meanings from dead texts. Whether he’s reading the minstrel as uncanny robot, creolizing Haraway’s cyborg, or calling Afrofuturism to account for its blind spots, Chude-Sokei is as intellectually daring as he is erudite. In The Sound of Culture, he gives us the ‘shining’ he’s got, helping us see the spectral twins of race and technology that haunt our past . . . and our future.”Mark Dery, cultural critic and the author of “Black to the Future,” a seminal essay on Afrofuturism



LOUIS CHUDE-SOKEI is a professor of English at the University of Washington, Seattle. His essays have appeared widely in publications such as African American Review, Transition, and The Believer. He is the author of The Last "Darky": Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora, which was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.



Wed, 18 May 2016 10:19:00 -0500