Caucus Book Releases
Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America by Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey (2023)
African American history from 1900 to 2000 cannot be told without accounting for the significant influence of Pan-African thought, just as the story of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy cannot be told without accounting for fears of an African World. In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey and his followers perceived the North American mainland, particularly Canada following U.S. authorities' deportation of Garvey to Jamaica, as a forward-operating base from which to liberate the Black masses from colonialism. After World War II, Vietnam War resisters, Black Panthers, and Caribbean students joined the throngs of cross-border migrants to denounce militarism, imperialism, and capitalism. In time, as urban uprisings proliferated in northern U.S. cities, the prospect of coalitions among the Black Power, Red Power, and Quebecois Power movements inspired U.S. and Canadian intelligence services to collaborate, infiltrate, and sabotage Black organizations across North America. Assassinations of "Black messiahs" further radicalized revolutionaries, rekindling the dream for an African World from Washington, D.C., to Toronto to San Francisco to Antigua to Grenada and back to Africa. Alarmed, Washington's national security elites invoked the Cold War as the reason to counter the triangulation of Black Power in the Atlantic World, funneling arms clandestinely from the United States and Canada to the Caribbean and then to its proxies in southern Africa.
By contending that twentieth-century global Black liberation movements began within the U.S.-Canadian borderlands as cross-border, continental struggles, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans reveals the revolutionary legacies of the Underground Railroad and America's Great Migration and the hemispheric and transatlantic dimensions of this history.
Published January 2023 (print), December 2022 (e-book).
Performing Postracialism: Reflections on Antiblackness, Nation, and Education through Contemporary Blackface in Canada by Philip S. S. Howard (2023)
Blackface – instances in which non-Black persons temporarily darken their skin with make-up to impersonate Black people, usually for fun, and frequently in educational contexts – constitutes a postracialist pedagogy that propagates antiblack logics.
In Performing Postracialism, Philip S.S. Howard examines instances of contemporary blackface in Canada and argues that it is more than a simple matter of racial (mis)representation. The book looks at the ostensible humour and dominant conversations around blackface, arguing that they are manifestations of the particular formations of antiblackness in the Canadian nation state and its educational institutions. It posits that the occurrence of blackface in universities is not incidental, and outlines how educational institutions’ responses to blackface in Canada rely upon a motivation to protect whiteness.
Performing Postracialism draws from focus groups and individual interviews conducted with university students, faculty, administrators, and Black student associations, along with online articles about blackface, to provide the basis for a nuanced examination of the ways that blackface is experienced by Black persons. The book investigates the work done by Black students, faculty, and staff at universities to challenge blackface and the broader campus climate of antiblackness that generates it.
Published January 2023.
The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging by Debra Thompson (2022)
When Debra Thompson moved to the United States in 2010, she felt like she was returning to the land of her ancestors, those who had escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad. But her decade-long journey across Canada and the US transformed her relationship to both countries, and to the very idea of home.
In The Long Road Home, Thompson follows the roots of Black identities in North America and the routes taken by those who have crisscrossed the world’s longest undefended border in search of freedom and belonging. She begins in Shrewsbury, Ontario, one of the termini of the Underground Railroad and the place where members of her own family found freedom. More than a century later, Thompson still feels the echoes and intergenerational trauma of North American slavery. She was often the Only One—the only Black person in so many white spaces—in a country that perpetuates the national mythology of multiculturalism.
Then she revisits her four American homes, each of which reveals something peculiar about the relationship between American racism and democracy: Boston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Revolution; Athens, Ohio, where the white working class and the white liberal meet; Chicago, Illinois, the great Black metropolis; and Eugene, Oregon, the western frontier. She then moves across the border and settles in Montreal, a unique city with a long history of transnational Black activism, but one that does not easily accept the unfamiliar and the foreign into the fold.
The Long Road Home is a moving personal story and a vital examination of the nuances of racism in the United States and Canada. Above all, it is about the power of freedom and the dreams that link and inspire Black people across borders from the perspective of one who has deep ties to, critiques of, and hope for both countries.
Published September 2022.
Black Markets and Militants: Informal Networks in the Middle East and Africa by Khalid Mustafa Medani (2021)
Understanding the political and socio-economic factors which give rise to youth recruitment into militant organizations is at the heart of grasping some of the most important issues that affect the contemporary Middle East and Africa. In this book, Khalid Mustafa Medani explains why youth are attracted to militant organizations, examining the specific role economic globalization, in the form of outmigration and expatriate remittance inflows, plays in determining how and why militant activists emerge. The study challenges existing accounts that rely primarily on ideology to explain militant recruitment. Based on extensive fieldwork, Medani offers an in-depth analysis of the impact of globalization, neoliberal reforms and informal economic networks as a conduit for the rise and evolution of moderate and militant Islamist movements and as an avenue central to the often, violent enterprise of state building and state formation. In an original contribution to the study of Islamist and ethnic politics more broadly, he thereby shows the importance of understanding when and under what conditions religious rather than other forms of identity become politically salient in the context of changes in local conditions.
Published October 2021.
Dear Black Girls by Shanice Nicole (2021)
Dear Black Girls is a letter to all Black girls. Every single day poet and educator Shanice Nicole is reminded of how special Black girls are and of how lucky she is to be one. Illustrations by Kezna Dalz support the book’s message that no two Black girls are the same but they are all special—that to be a Black girl is a true gift. In this celebratory poem, Kezna and Shanice remind young readers that despite differences, they all deserve to be loved just the way they are.
Published Winter 2021.
Everyday Transgressions by Adelle Blackett (2019)
Adelle Blackett tells the story behind the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention No. 189, and its accompanying Recommendation No. 201 which in 2011 created the first comprehensive international standards to extend fundamental protections and rights to the millions of domestic workers laboring in other peoples' homes throughout the world. As the principal legal architect, Blackett is able to take us behind the scenes to show us how Convention No. 189 transgresses the everyday law of the household workplace to embrace domestic workers' human rights claim to be both workers like any other, and workers like no other. In doing so, she discusses the importance of understanding historical forms of invisibility, recognizes the influence of the domestic workers themselves, and weaves in poignant experiences, infusing the discussion of laws and standards with intimate examples and sophisticated analyses. Looking to the future, she ponders how international institutions such as the ILO will address labor market informality alongside national and regional law reform. Regardless of what comes next, Everyday Transgressions establishes that domestic workers' victory is a victory for the ILO and for all those who struggle for an inclusive, transnational vision of labor law, rooted in social justice.
Published April 2019.
The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census (2016)
By examining the political development of racial classifications on the national censuses of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, The Schematic State maps the changing nature of the census from an instrument historically used to manage and control racial populations to its contemporary purpose as an important source of statistical information, employed to monitor and rectify racial discrimination. Through a careful comparative analysis of nearly two hundred years of census taking, it demonstrates that changes in racial schemas are driven by the interactions among shifting transnational ideas about race, the ways they are tempered and translated by nationally distinct racial projects, and the configuration of political institutions involved in the design and execution of census policy. This book argues that states seek to make their populations racially legible, turning the fluid and politically contested substance of race into stable, identifiable categories to be used as the basis of law and policy.
Published October 2016.