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"In this thought-provoking, demanding, and courage-inspiring book, Joseph R. Winters urges his readers to embrace narratives of progress that force them to confront loss. In so doing, he opens us up to more realistic and more human possibilities for identity and community. Winters's ethical passion is lovely to behold." — Dana D. Nelson, author of Commons Democracy: Reading the Politics of Participation in the Early United States
"Joseph R. Winters argues that the tragicomic dimension of African American life manifests as a kind of 'melancholic hope.' He traces this uncanny desire to hear the anguished cries of the ancestors, to revisit the site of historical trauma, across multiple domains: from the foundational scholarship of Du Bois to politics in the age of Obama. Drawing on the spiritual/blues/jazz impulse in black culture and Walter Benjamin, Winters reveals the capaciousness and paradoxical productivity of hope draped in melancholy." — William David Hart, author of Afro-Eccentricity: Beyond the Standard Narrative of Black Religion
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