280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 22 halftones, 1 map
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6793-5
Published: April 2022
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6792-8
Published: April 2022
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6794-2
Published: February 2022
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Awards & distinctions
Finalist, 2023 Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize
Shortlisted, 2023 Museum of African American History Stone Book Award
About the Author
Irvin J. Hunt is assistant professor of English and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
For more information about Irvin J. Hunt, visit the Author Page.
“An engaging analysis. . . . Hunt calls forth a new way of looking at the Black cooperative movement and an alternative method for assessing its meaning and impact. . . . [I]ncisive and compelling.”—Journal of Southern History
“Dreaming the Present is a beautifully rendered and captivating enarration of Black political life. Hunt refuses a story of linear progress or permanent disaster for Black people, instead focusing on the hard work of doing, that is to say the Black political tradition in which ethical relation has been the primary ethos. He tells us about the work of the living, which is not held hostage to hope. The book is brilliant and timely and will transform our understandings of social movements from abolition to civil rights and Black Lives Matter.”—Imani Perry, author of May We Forever Stand
“For Irvin Hunt, the Black cooperative movement is essential to what C. L. R. James calls ‘the history of Pan-African revolt.’ Dreaming the Present is deeply attuned to that movement’s ruptural gatherings and studious experiments. Hunt writes with a fierce urgency that requires and allows us to hear in and through the work of Du Bois, Schuyler, Baker, and Hamer the Black anticipation and extension of Samuel Beckett’s blues: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’”—Fred Moten, author of consent not to be a single being
“Irvin J. Hunt reads key sites of Black cooperative economic formation to examine questions of political autonomy, collective power, and planning. He reveals how these cooperative formations were not just ‘alternatives’ to traditional market enterprises but were capable of protecting people from the violence and precarity of the ‘free’ market. This is a book that courses with creative energy, tacking back and forth between examples of the cooperative movements and their implications for social movement studies, literary studies, and political analysis. An enormously ambitious book.”—Daniel Martinez HoSang, author of A Wider Type of Freedom: How Struggles for Racial Justice Liberate Everyone
“Bursting with new insights into time, creativity, and collectivity, Irvin J. Hunt has given us a fresh and exciting examination of African American intellectual and political traditions—a brilliant, energizing book that will be relevant for years to come. Smart, engaging, and full of extraordinary observations and arguments. An immensely important work.”—John E. Drabinski, University of Maryland
Multimedia & Links
Hear from the author in this video: Watch.