What is this ‘Black’ in Black Studies?: From Black British Cultural Studies to Black Critical Thought in U.K. Arts and Higher Education

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DOI: 10.3898/NewF:99.05.2019

The aim of this article is two-fold. Firstly, it identifies and maps out a new presence in race discourse in the UK arts and higher education, under the heading of ‘US Black Critical Thought’. Secondly, it seeks to situate ‘US Black Critical Thought’ and its growing impact upon intellectual and aesthetic discourses on race in the UK through the lens of the longer-term project of ‘Black British Cultural Studies’. The article traces the formation and eventual dissolving of ‘Black British Cultural Studies’ from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, and suggests that ‘US Black Critical Thought’ has energised a cohort of younger thinkers and artists in Britain, following a period where the intellectual left side-lined race as a serious category of theoretical or critical analysis.

99: Cultures of Compensation