A Mouth Is Always Muzzled Summary and Reviews

A Mouth Is Always Muzzled

Six Dissidents, Five Continents, and the Art of Resistance

by Natalie Hopkinson

A Mouth Is Always Muzzled by Natalie Hopkinson X
A Mouth Is Always Muzzled by Natalie Hopkinson

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Book Summary

A meditation in the spirit of John Berges and bell hooks on art as protest, contemplation, and beauty in politically perilous times.

As people consider how to respond to a resurgence of racist, xenophobic populism, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled tells an extraordinary story of the ways art brings hope in perilous times. Weaving disparate topics from sugar and British colonialism to attacks on free speech and Facebook activism and traveling a jagged path across the Americas, Africa, India, and Europe, Natalie Hopkinson, former culture writer for the Washington Post and The Root, argues that art is where the future is negotiated.

Part post-colonial manifesto, part history of British Caribbean, part exploration of art in the modern world, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled is a dazzling analysis of the insistent role of art in contemporary politics and life. In crafted, well-honed prose, Hopkinson knits narratives of culture warriors: painter Bernadette Persaud, poet Ruel Johnson, historian Walter Rodney, novelist John Berger, and provocative African American artist Kara Walker, whose homage to the sugar trade Sugar Sphinx electrified American audiences. A Mouth Is Always Muzzled is a moving meditation documenting the artistic legacy generated in response to white supremacy, brutality, domination, and oppression. In the tradition of Paul Gilroy, it is a cri de coeur for the significance of politically bold - even dangerous - art to all people and nations.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Not merely a book about Guyana, but an impressively rendered story about imperialism in general and cultural imperialism in particular." - Kirkus

"Hopkinson's smart analysis of art and politics is worth reading, even if the book's wandering focus can prove distracting." - Publishers Weekly

"Not just a work of scholarship but an eloquent piece of cultural partisanship, an elegy, a counter-narrative, a love letter." - Washington Post

"Sharp reporting and analysis that veers from gut-wrenchingly honest to laugh-out-loud funny." - Black Issues Book Review

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A former staff writer, editor, and culture critic at the Washington Post and The Root, Natalie Hopkinson is an assistant professor in Howard University's graduate program in communication, culture and media studies and a fellow at the Interactivity Foundation. The author of two critically acclaimed books, Go-Go Live and Deconstructing Tyrone (with Natalie Y. Moore), Hopkinson lives in Washington, D.C.

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