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I have to write an 8 pg review on the book "Exchanging Our Country Marks" by Michael Gomez.

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 I attached PowerPoint slides outlining some of the chapters in the book:

Exchanging Our Country Marks Chapters 7-10.pptx 

Exchanging Our Country Marks 3-6(1) (1).pptx 

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EXCHANGING OUR COUNTRY MARKS: MICHAEL GOMEZCHAPTERS 7-10 Josh Myers- Intro to Africana Studies Course Objectives   Provide a general overview of the constitutive elements of African worldviews, thought systems, and knowledge complexes. Provide a conceptual overview of how these generative ideas among Africans were improvised within the emergent world nexus as a result of European modernity and its concomitants: capitalism, indigenous people’s extermination, settler and indirect colonization, the institution of slavery, imperialism, etc. Discussion Points    How did Africans attempt to negotiate their existence in the United States? What was unique about their folklore, religion, etc.? Can we still see these characteristics today? Ethnicity to Race  At the end of Chapter 6, Gomez offers the following about ethnic contributions to African American identity:  Similarities among Africans existed that cannot be simply explained by “region.” Cultural foundations were achieved by similarities in: Worldviews ◼ Religions ◼ Skills ◼  Differences also existed; new forms and ways of knowing had to be created to militate against them: Notions of polity ◼ Muslim v. traditional African religions ◼ Chapter 7: Talking Half African    Gomez investigates the middle passage, the seasoning process, and the question of language How were each of these processes informed by African antecedents and improvised for survival and transition into the New World? Cultural continuity, then is/was an important form of resistance (p. 155) The initial capture and barracoon  The initial capture was where the transformation began  Africans were forced to begin to recognize their plight as not only single ethnicities, but as Africans ◼   This did not come immediately Through the overland march, holding, and loading process, this idea became even more apparent “The two new realities” They were severed from their lands and their families  They were in close proximity with Africans of different ethnicities  Holding dungeon The Door of No Return: Goree Island The Passage  Provided the opportunity for further bonding among newly captured Africans, because they faced common suffering and status.    They were all chained, denuded, and fed and treated harshly. Those who were not chained, (Whites) were treated differently. This constituted the first factor that would strengthen the bonds among Africans. ◼ ◼  The second was their very survival. The third, and perhaps most important was the treatment of African woman aboard the slaver. (p.165-167) Africans had to reconstitute and understand this new world; they did so out of their antecedent cultures. The seasoning process   The “new Negro” or “outlandish nigger” had to undergo a process of adjusting to new climate, new clothing, new food, and above all their new status. This process was often facilitated by the “slave driver” charged with: Teaching skills  The order of the plantation  How to behave in front of “Whites”  ◼  The idea of whiteness was then firmly established during this period. Punishment was enforced The question of language   Gomez calls language one of the primary facilitators of the transformation of ethnicity to race. Language served as a co-conspirator to the enslavement process in America.  How then did Africans understand the role of language, of English?  Cultural resistance was intimately yoked to language; self-dialogue was the crucible for this resistance. (p. 171-172) African responses    Many native Africans chose to retain their own languages In other cases, they Africanized English: retaining the meter and grammar of African tongues, but allowing them to communicate with whites. Both were functions of outright defiance and resistance; English was imposed from without, but transformed from within. Gullah documentary  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvuWSJI87r8&f eature=related Language and resistance   Africans were able to use facility with both purely African languages and Africanized English to aid in absconding. (p. 180) Within the Maroon communities, language was a key facilitator and allowed these settlements to prosper. African of different ethnicities could communicate using Africanized English. (p. 182) Chapter 8: Tad’s Query  Gomez examines how ethnicity and class are correlated within the cauldron of the early enslavement experience  Intra-ethnic and intra-racial relations and resistance  The folkloric tradition and its links to identity formation  How did Africans self-perceive their collective experiences and environments? The African-born and American born  The challenges  The African born were clearly defiant and resolve to turn physically and culturally to their homelands  What of their descendants? What were their attitudes toward their African-born forbears? ◼ For Gomez, they responded in varying forms but largely venerated and respected the African-born ◼ Gomez challenges the notion of “contempt” ◼ Periodization is important  The WPA interviews and runaway advertisements provide some insight The red cloth stories  How did Africans understand the initial capture? They created the folklore of the red cloth  The transmission of the stories to the 1930s was only possible through African-born and Americanborn cultural continuity and interaction  This narrative was alive throughout the South   General structure of the story is of the “trickster” genre The Europeans were able to entice the African aboard the slavers by bandying a red cloth.  It was acknowledge the Europeans were the “trickster” and were dishonest.  The King Buzzard stories  How did Africans contextualize African complicity in the trade?   The folkloric tradition of the African created the King Buzzard story to explain African involvement in the initial capture Tad’s story of the Buzzard: The buzzard descends on the African, forcing him into a “canebreak” and his ensuing enslavement  The buzzard’s betrayal and spiritual punishment are included as key to this story  The implications of this folkloric tradition  Racial identity The existence of two separate stories reveals that Africans had devised a way to understand this history on group terms  They showed how Europeans benefited; while showing the context of how Africans were complicit  ◼   They understood that there was a difference in benefits afforded to both actors Because Africans theoretically belonged to their racial group, the King Buzzard tales have different meanings, though it was the same historical process The bottom line  The creators of these stories knew what slavery meant to the European Views of Africa  The scholarship suggests that some African Americans often internalized the view of Africa as inferior   This was not learned behavior from the African-born population   These groups maintained their close affinity to their homeland Ambivalence of the homeland vs. the homes of the American born family members   The Hamitic curse The testimony of Kazoola portrays this deep ambivalence Gomez however concludes that there was a widespread “salutary” view of the African continent among her descendants in North America Stratification within the African-based community   In this section, Gomez discusses the origins of some aspects of classism. The creation of an African-American identity was fashioned by Africans themselves, as they moved through the social cauldron of racial capitalism. (p. 220).  There  were both internal and external forces at play. What were some of these forces? Labor differentiation  There was a differentiation in labor (often based on ethnicity) which led to a differentiation in social status among Africans   The skills of the specific ethnic groups led to differences in labor assignments (p. 221) The domestic and the field hand  This dichotomy has often been used to suggest that the domestic African had it “easier” than the field hand; there are elements of truth, but it’s important to remember that both were dehumanized ◼ ◼ They often resisted together However, many times social distinctions and class issues would occur amongst those Africans who lived in “The Big House” ◼ Proximity to whiteness often served as the first forms of Du Boisian “double consciousness” Color gradation  “Biracial liaisons” would produce a class of African-descended individuals who also carried the blood of the Euro-American    Those of mixed-race often constituted a certain position upon the continuum of whiteness and blackness   Because the status of the mother followed the child, these children were legally enslaved Many would be utilized in the house; they were considered more “agreeable” Power was associated with whiteness, so the “mulatto” population often had more access to power than their full-African counterparts The story of Yellow Jack   Details how Africans understood the mixed-race issue; a story of their eventual acceptance into the racial community, and into Africanness (p. 235) They would realize that they were essentially the same; as a result many resisted together. In the movies Other forms of stratification  Wealth of their plantation Africans often placed value on the amount of wealth they generated  They exhibited class differences based upon this fact.  This was far less prevalent than the aforementioned factors.   African royalty  There were often instances of Africans clinging to their “royal” status once they were in North America. ◼  This also generated class issues. The entire process of stratification shaped the w ays in w hich ethnicity and class w ould help form ulate an African Am erican identity Chapter 9: Turning Down the Pot   In this chapter Gomez investigate Christianity among Africans in the South prior to 1830. Why Christianity?  It is clear the Africans tapped into the spiritual/religious world to be able to make sense of this new situation  It was largely their choice ◼ Within the volitive realm of acculturation ◼ So why did they chose Christianity? Prior Scholarship on African Americans and Christianity  African American intellectuals have always been concerned with this phenomenon    W.E.B. Du Bois Carter Godwin Woodson E. Franklin Frazier  The most wide-ranging study is perhaps Albert Raboteau’s Slave  Key elements of their works Religion.     The role of the Black Church The retention of Africanisms in Christianity How Africans used Christianity in their day-to-day Gomez’s work advances his general thesis: the move toward a racial identity was achieved via African uses of Christianity. Luther Jackson’s periodization  Luther Jackson’s 1931 Journal of Negro History article provides the following periodization of the African conversion/understanding of Christianity:  1760-1790 (The Great Awakening)  1790-1830 (The urban Black church)  1830-1860 (Plantation owner backlash) The Great Awakening Period   Africans were allowed to participate in the great camp meetings in the North American religious revivals of the late 18th century They brought their cultures with them  The Holy Ghost/spirit possession/trances were associated with the African involvement in these revivals  In addition, the leaders were often anti-slavery advocates The Urban Black Church    Around the 1790s, the emergence of churches in urban areas (free communities of color) emerged. Of them, the most famous was the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church under the leadership of Richard Allen, who was formerly enslaved. At the same time Christianity among the enslaved declined. There was a divergent trend among the free and the enslaved. Only 4% of the enslaved population were known to be “converted” Richard Allen and Mother Bethel AME The Backlash  Rebellions were often keyed by Christianized Africans (though many were believers in both Christianity and traditional spiritual systems).    As a result, plantation owners banned religious observances that were outside of their gaze     Denmark Vesey (1822) Nat Turner (1831) They controlled the African religious service Promoted Black preachers who would preach the infamous “Slaves, obey your masters” sermons Ephesians 6:5 became synonym ous with Christianity. Africans revolted spiritually   They “stole away” and “turned down the pot” Began to distinguish their forms of Christianity from the master’s The Africanization of Christianity   According to Gomez, and others, the masses of Africans did not “convert” to Christianity until it had become thoroughly Africanized The Western interpretation of Christianity had to be understood in African terms for it to be effective and real   Much of Christianity, of course begins in Eastern Africa, and follows the general pattern of African worldview systems when practiced on the continent It is altered once in the hands of the Romans, who converted the rest of Europe from the Dark Ages on to the present ◼   It undergoes further transformations once in the hands of Western Europeans Africans are then faced with a book-centered, Western-interpretation which renders it foreign. Gomez explains that Africans had to contend with these challenges, but eventually were able to syncretize both forms, to meet their needs: utilizing three community-building mechanisms. The Ring Shout  What Du Bois calls the “frenzy” Africans utilized this ceremony to bring down the spirits  Under Christianity, it was the Holy Spirit  They would move about in circles, in a counter-clockwise, crescendo until the spirit gradually came down upon them; at which point they become possessed.   This was practiced among the folk, not the elite. Many of the AME elite, shunned the practice.  Among the spiritual leaders of the folk, it was a consensus that salvation could not come without the spirit.   It built community (Sterling Stuckey’s thesis) The Ring Shout  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7QkLtDwCwM Water Baptism  This was also very attractive to Africans  It highly resonated with African culture; representing transition- The Igbo as well as the Ki-kongo would have been very familiar with this.  They were familiar with “crossing River Jordan”  It too, built community. It was more than just an individualistic event. Water Baptism Funerary Practices  Among the enslaved Africans, funeral traditions embodied spiritual transition.   This was perhaps the most important community event.   As such, there was both intense mourning and intense celebration. African retentions were present   African spiritual concepts were embraced and fused with Western Christian thought on the afterlife. The deceased were given material goods “Homegoing”  Where was home? ◼ Away from slavery The resonances     Gomez shows how the mechanisms, the ring shout, water baptism, and the funeral practices aided in the conversion, but what ultimately led to the eventual conversion of Africans?  The resonances of Christianity with African culture Africans were able to identify both cultural and politically with Christianity Politically they were attracted to the story of salvation and redemption  Ethiopianism  The children of Israel  Jesus and the Disinherited- Howard Thurman Culturally, they were able to fuse the two together-syncretism  The Christian God represented the High God; the Holy Ghost became the singular representation of the sub-deities. ◼     Jesus being crucified and born again jibed with Africans’ notion of spiritual return The Baptist church was thoroughly Africanized (the deacon board and the deaconesses) The preacher/minister became the griot Water baptism The Cross Traditional African spiritual systems  Because of the Western nature of Christianity, not all African spiritual systems were readily compatible.   Because the total system was not compatitble, many Africans were ambivalent and did not convert. Those who did, tried to hold onto to the traditional elements, others were led away Hoodoo and conjuration As the WPA interviews, many Christians continued to believe in the power of hoodoo, and some practiced elements of it; especially for medicinal purposes  Others were led to reject these practices  Christianity and Hoodoo   Both are important to understanding the development of a collective racial identity. The rural folk and the elite were often split about their interpretations of the interplay between African spiritual knowledge and Western religious practice; this continues to today. Chapter 10: The Least of These  “The rejection of Africa as equal”   In this short chapter, Gomez draws upon his analysis to show that it was indeed African responses which formed the basis of a racial identity and the pursuit of resistance He echoes chapter 8, by showing the existence of a split in this response An urban elite emerged in order to test the limits of American liberalism, they sought to cast their lot with privilege and equality and ascription to American ideals  Africa- its culture and ideals were clung to by the “folk” who continue to represent the race to the world to today; and are most victimized, by racism, which Gomez equates with “the rejection of Africa as equal”  EXCHANGING OUR COUNTRY MARKS: MICHAEL GOMEZCHAPTER 3-6 Josh Myers- Intro to Africana Studies Week 8 Course Objectives   Provide a general overview of the constitutive elements of African worldviews, thought systems, and knowledge complexes. Provide a conceptual overview of how these generative ideas among Africans were improvised within the emergent world nexus as a result of European modernity and its concomitants: capitalism, indigenous people’s extermination, settler and indirect colonization, the institution of slavery, imperialism, etc. Discussion Points    What were the central cultural worldviews and beliefs of the Africans (Bambara, Mande, Akan, Igbo, Kongo, Fon-Ewe-Yoruba) who were transferred to North America? What links these worldviews together? What distinguishes them? Chapter 3: Warriors, Charms, and Loas  The discussion of Africans from Senegambia and the Bight of Benin          Bambara Fulbe Mandinka (Mandingo) Wolof Fon-Ewe-Yoruba The ethnic constitution of the region (Africa) Their dispersion in North America and its meaning for the creation of Black identity The worldviews and belief systems of the Bambara The Fon-Ewe-Yoruba impact on Louisiana and South Mississippi The Bambara in South Carolina and Georgia  Preferred for their agricultural prowess  The cultivation of rice and indigo ◼ (Malagasy were also known to posses this skill) The Bambara in Louisiana     “It is in Louisiana that the Bambara show up in force” (43) Islamic Malinke, Fulbe, & Wolof are also present French Louisiana also produced rice and indigo, capitalizing on the skills of the Bambara They were employed in a number of other highly skilled capacities: levee builders, blacksmiths, locksmiths, wheelwrights, saddlers, masons, and carpenters. The foundation: the Senegambia region  Characterized by similar cultures and closely related societies  The Wolof occupied the coastal reg ...
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