richard price & sally price

Beacon Press, 1992

Brazilian edition (Pallas, 2003)

Dutch edition (KITLV Press, 2003)

Mexican edition (CIESAS, 2012)

The Birth of
African-American Culture

by Sidney W. Mintz and Richard Price

In this provocative study, two anthropologists add a measured voice to the debate on the roots of African-American culture. Exploring the cultural ties between Africans and African-Americans, the authors argue that there was no single culture that enslaved Africans transported intact to the Americas. They suggest rather that enslaved Africans from many different societies began to forge out of common understandings and shared crises a new culture with distinct institutions, religious beliefs, and kinship roles even during the nightmare of the Middle Passage. This compelling look at the wellsprings of cultural vitality during one of the most dehumanizing experiences in history provides a fresh perspective on the African-American past.

"A classic. The most cogent and detailed attempt to think through what acculturation of Africans in the Americas was like."
—Albert J. Raboteau, author of Slave Religion

"Extremely useful in demonstrating how to approach and understand the meaning and shape of ethnic culture in the United States.... A pioneering effort to explore black culture not as a pathology but as a syncretic blend of cultures from the Old and New worlds.
—Lawrence Levine, author of Black Culture and Black Consciousness

"This classic study, long passed from hand to hand among scholars, is as important now as it was at the time of its first publication. Mintz and Price pose an interpretive challenge to historians and anthropologists, while at the same time presenting an innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery."
—Rebecca Scott, author of Slave Emancipation in Cuba

Selected Books:

“Richard and Sally Price’s elegiac account of their time living among the Saamakas of Suriname in the 1960s is wholly engrossing, and of the very highest narrative quality. I can see, smell, and feel everything they describe. The Prices have never been fresher or more readable as literature.” --George E. Marcus
Boléro Tropical, a French-language reimagining of Enigma Variations, is now available from and
Winner of the 2012 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association in the field of Human Rights and the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society. "An extraordinary work, actively written and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic." --Donald Brenneis, UC Santa Cruz
"A delicious combination of art, anthropology, and politics"--Lucy R. Lippard. "A fascinating, entertaining, and troubling book"--Journal of Anthropological Research. "A complex story of passion, intrigue, and power"--Journal of Surrealism and the Americas. "A crackling good story"--Museum.
Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. . . . "An astonishing performance ... as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”--George Lamming
A lavishly-illustrated art book
A French-language original, printed in full color.
"A tour-de-force ... a true marriage of anthropology and art history." --Fred Myers, New York University
"A witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive art business." --Newsweek
"A superb calaloo of a book ... that explores the underlying insanity of the colonial experience." --George Lamming
"A true gem... The promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain." --African Arts
"Sensitive and honest, First-Time is required reading for all who seek to learn something new through first-hand, long-term research with non-western intellectuals" --Ethnohistory
"A splendid effort to recover the past." --New York Review of Books
"A splendid anthology, skillfully edited and introduced." --Eugene D. Genovese
"An innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery." --Rebecca Scott
"Conceived with sophistication but presented with simplicity and clarity" --Choice
"A brilliantly crafted experiment in postmodern narration --J. Jorge Klor de Alva, president, University of Phoenix
As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a whole sequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.
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