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On Black Men

David Marriott

Paperback (Printed to Order)

Mutilated, dying or dead, black men play a role in the psychic life of culture. From national dreams to media fantasies, from sensual intimacy to outpourings of murderous violence, there is a persistent imagining of what black men must be, a demand that black men perform a script, become interchangeable with the uncanny, deeply unsettling, projections of culture.

This powerful and compelling study explores the legacy of that role, particularly its violent effect on how black men have learned to see themselves and one another. David Marriott draws upon a range of examples, from lynching photographs to recent Hollywood films, as well as the ideas of key thinkers including Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and John Edgar Wideman, to reveal a vicious pantomime of unvarying reification and compulsive fascination, of whites taking a look at themselves through images of black desolation, and of blacks intimately dispossessed by that self-same looking.

On Black Men is a bold and original exploration of what it means to be black and male in contemporary Europe and America.

About the Author

David Marriott is Lecturer in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz


On Black Men is a haunting, impressive book. With searing honesty, powerful analysis, and justified anger, Marriott tackles many of the fantasies that have fuelled racial hatred in Britain and the United States... Not every reader will agree with Marriott's arguments, but few will read his chapters on lynching and contemporary gang violence without being moved to question what, over time, has hardened into "home truth". On Black Men invites us to give up the cliches and to focus instead on the fantasies that spawned them. This book deserves a very wide audience.
- Christopher Lane, Emory University
A powerful and searing testimony of the fantasies shaping the lives of black men. Marriott's book is invaluable and fills a great need.
- Hazel Carby, Yale University
On Black Men is a provocative, and original study.
- Alan Sinfield, University of Sussex