The Black Atlantic

The Black Atlantic:Modernity and Double Consciousness

  • Paperback

  • Paperback (2012)

Timely reissue of the classic radical history of race and modernity

In this ground-breaking work, Paul Gilroy proposes that the modern black experience can not be defined solely as African, American, Carribean or British alone, but can only be understand as a Black Atlantic culture that transcends ethnicity or nationality. This culture is thorough modern and, often, overlooked but can deeply enriches our understanding of what it means to be modern.

This condition comes out of historical transoceanic experience, established first with the slave trade but later seen in the development of a transatlantic culture. And Gilroy takes us on a tour of the music that, for centuries, has transmitted racial messages and feeling around the world, from the Jubilee Singers in the nineteenth century to Jimi Hendrix to rap. He also explores this internationalism as it is manifested in black writing from the “double consciousness” of W. E. B. Du Bois to the “double vision” of Richard Wright to the compelling voice of Toni Morrison. As a consequence, Black Atlantic charts the formation of a nationalism, if not a nation, within this shared, disasporic culture.


  • Paul Gilroy is one the most incisive thinkers of his generation...One can only hope that his voice travels far and wide.

  • In debates in recent years around questions of race, nation and culture, Paul Gilroy has stood out as an independent, unorthodox and (often for that very reason) exciting new voice.

    Times Higher Educational Supplement
  • Whilst others scarcely put a toe in the water, in The Black Atlantic Gilroy goes in deep and returns with riches.