Friday, February 8, 2013


accumulative advantage refers to the notion that early rewards or special opportunities accrue over time and thus provide recipients with an edge over their peers and competitors in a given field.  Malcolm Gladwell helped popularize the concept by discussing its meaning in his best-selling book Outliers.

afrofuturism refers a critical approach that concentrates on examining the intersections between race and technology or race and speculative narratives.

benign neglect refers to "a policy or attitude of ignoring a situation instead of assuming responsibility for managing or improving it."

black aesthetics refer to cultural signifiers or sensory features that are perceived as black or African American, such as various forms of music, linguistic and performance styles, culinary practices, fashion and fashioning choices, iconography, and visual designs. To the extent that race is socially constructed and unstable, the “black” of “black aesthetics” often rests on slippery perceptions and rarely remain fixed.[More on Black Aesthetics. ]

consciousness refers to the state of being politically and racially aware. Often, conscious folks were those who were viewed as having studied aspects of black diasporic histories, peoples, cultures, the politics of race, and the effects of anti-racism . Many grassroots scholars and cultural activists view Malcolm X as the epitome of someone who embodied black consciousness.  

creative domain refers to the accepted and generally well-known body of knowledge, practices, texts, and key figures in a given field. R. Keith Sawyer, in his book Explaining Creativity, notes that creative domains consist "of all the created products that have been accepted by the field in the past, and all of the conventions that are shared by members of the field—the languages, symbols, and notations.”

cultural capital " refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means."

cultural geo-tagging (sometimes referred to as literary geo-tagging) refers to authors identifying specific locations or utilizing region-specific words in their works. Cultural geo-tagging illuminates what we are witnessing regarding positioning, location, mapping, and geographic matters in the works of black writers who sometimes rely on specific cities, streets, neighborhoods, city landmarks, and regional expressions.

culture heroes are real and imagined figures viewed as saviors or idols whose deeds and accomplishments give their constituencies hope , entertainment, or narrative prompts to express communal values and interests. John de Conqueror (also known as Jack), Stagolee, Shine, and John Henry are four of the more prominent culture heroes. The rabbit was a n especially popular hero in black folk culture who was likely based on the Signifying Monkey. As Zora Neale Hurston noted, "the trickster-hero of West Africa has been transplanted to America."   

diaspora (black diaspora) refers to " the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland."   Black diaspora often refers to the dispersal of people of African descent the world over.

double consciousness refers to the  sometimes vexing state of being black and American. According to W. E. B. DuBois who coined the term " It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."

ghost curriculum refers to off the radar, underground, seemingly informal, or unofficial systems of knowledge that people possess and discourse communities that they belong to, but which may not typically get formal recognition in educational settings.

hip hop aesthetics refers to cultural signifiers, sensory features, and styles of pre sen t ati on and delivery associated with rap music and hip hop culture. Hip hop aesthetics are often characterized by blending or sampling a wide range of materials together in a single artistic production.

intellectualism refers to engagements with ideas and thinking processes ; in addition, " devotion to exercise or development of the intellect." Harold Cruse's popular The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967) gave increased attention to the subject position of black intellectuals, and during the 1990s, widespread coverage of a group of prominent African American writers and especially academics, including bell hooks, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Michael Eric Dyson, under the title "black public intellectuals" further highlighted the notion of black intellects, if not intellectualism  

intersectionality is a black feminist term and theory that refers to the examination of various aspects of identity, including race, class, gender, and sexuality, and the manners in which women, particularly women of color, experience and confront oppression based on the intersections of their multiple identities in a white, capitalist, patriarchal society.

kinship refers to fictive, virtual, and "real" connections between groups of people who may or may not be officially related . The common   and popular use of "brother," "sister," or "cousin" among African Americans to express an affinity or connection displays one sense of kinship.    
mind work refers to mental labors, imaginative efforts, or analytical processes that someone does to achieve particular tasks. Scholar Trudier Harris used the phrase in her essay "Mind Work" (later titled "Black Nerds" in her book Summer Snow): "There was lots of room for people who wanted to learn to become mechanics or electricians, for those were tangible, practical jobs that existed in the world. Mind work, beyond figuring the price of cotton or how to pay bills or the technicalities of being mechanics or electricians, was troubling, not well understood, and generally to be feared."

naming refers to culturally distinct practices of labeling, nicknaming, deliberately misnaming people, places, and things.    

refers to a mode of verbal joust or play where a speaker covertly makes fun of, ridicules , undermines, outsmarts, or insults someone through clever wordplay or indirection. The term also refers to the practice of a writer referencing, and in the process reworking and remixing work, by another writer or groups of writers. Carolyn Rodgers, Geneva Smitherman, and others have written about the term signifying; however, literary scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is especially linked to the phrase because of his well-known work The Signifying Monkey.  

uncanny refers to "an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar."

“ will to adorn” (adornment / ornamentation) refers to culturally distinct ways of decorating objects , furnishing environments, and embellishing language practice s . According to  Zora Neal e Hurst on, after "drama" (mimicry, action words, and a flare for the theatrical ),  "the will to adorn is the second most notable characteristic in" African American expression. 

wordplay refers to humorous or adept language use; puns; or " witty or clever verbal exchange." For our purposes, we have been studying wordplay infused with black aesthetics.  

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