Jayna Brown. Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 2021. 224p. Paper, $25.95 (ISBN 978-1-4780-1167-5).

Jennifer Brown


Among texts that examine Black embodiment—that examine our existence beyond and transcendence from the horrific bounds of State-sanctioned supremacies—Black Utopias stands out. Beautifully layered, Jayna Brown connects the lived experiences and artistries of Black American preachers, speculative fiction authors, and jazz musicians, charting expansive understandings of what utopia means within dialects of Black radical thought. This is by no means an introductory text; it demands study. Neon highlights and copious scribbled-in-the-margins notes. Regardless, this book moves; unsettles while restructuring current understandings of Blackness at large.

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