African American Review is soliciting essays for a special issue on the Post-Soul aesthetic to be published in 2007. Greg Tate calls the Post-Soul “the African American equivalent of postmodernism,” and a working definition of the Post-Soul aesthetic could include, but not be limited to, this quotation from Thelma Golden, curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem (who prefers the term “post-black”): “For me, to approach a conversation about ‘black art’ ultimately meant embracing and rejecting the notion of such a thing at the very same time. . . . [The Post-Soul] was characterized by artists who were adamant about not being labeled as ‘black’ artists, though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefining complex notions of blackness.”
Recognized nearly 20 years ago primarily by Trey Ellis (“The New Black Aesthetic,” 1989), Greg Tate (“Cult Nats Meet Freaky-Deke,” 1986) and Nelson George (Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and BoHos: Notes on Post-Soul Black Culture, 1992), the Post-Soul aesthetic could be used to describe the work of Paul Beatty, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Danzy Senna, Mos-Def, Dave Chappelle, Me’Shell Ndege-Ocello, Colson Whitehead, Aaron McGruder, Ellen Gallagher, The Roots, Spike Lee, Saul Williams, Kara Walker, Living Colour, and Darius James, to name only a few.
In addition to these artists and provocateurs, prospective article topics include theorizing the Post-Soul as critical praxis; postmodernism and the Post-Soul aesthetic; observations, commentary, and critiques of the Post-Soul aesthetic and/or scholarship on the Post-Soul; critical readings of Post-Soul novelists, artists, filmmakers, musicians, et al.; critical readings of individual Post-Soul novels, art, film, music, etc.; gender and the post-soul aesthetic; social class and the Post-Soul aesthetic; hip-hop and the Post-Soul aesthetic; essentialized blackness and the Post-Soul aesthetic; naming the Post-Soul aesthetic—identifications and identity crises; mass marketing and/or mass communication and the Post-Soul aesthetic; the Post-Soul aesthetic and the African American vernacular traditions; satire and the Post-Soul aesthetic; the Black Arts Movement and the Post-Soul aesthetic; Ralph Ellison and/or Albert Murray and the Post-Soul aesthetic; the “cultural mulatto” archetype in Post-Soul texts; redefining blackness in Post-Soul texts; signifyin(g) and the Post-Soul aesthetic; politics and the Post-Soul aesthetic; Double consciousness and the Post-Soul aesthetic; the Post-Soul in the college classroom; Pre-Soul and Post-Soul; and Post-Sex(ualities) and the Post-Soul.
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