chapter  8
16 Pages

The Black Atlantic III

Diaspora and the transnational study of visual culture
WithPaul Williams

This chapter discusses Paul Gilroy's theory of the black Atlantic by two things: it considers the methodological framework of diaspora and Gilroy's contribution to the study of visual culture. 'Diaspora' refers to a group of people that have spread around the world from a common point of origin. The Black Atlantic analyzes the African diaspora: the slaves transported from Africa to the New World, and their descendants. In the 1980s and early 1990s Gilroy wrote extensively about the black arts movement in Britain. The artists he wrote about were not creating art as a protest against racism, nor were they speaking on behalf of their communities' poverty and suffering. Gilroy's model of the African diaspora emphasizes transnational histories – histories of people and cultures that stretch over national borders. He challenged the idea that black culture belongs to any one country, especially in debates about African-American popular music.