Black Atlantic Identity Research Project

Important Terminology


The Black Atlantic:
The Black Atlantic is famously defined by Paul Gilroy as a particular culture that developed from African, North American, British, and Caribbean cultures, including Indigenous cultures. The Black Atlantic is also relevant to "The Long 18th Century," a term used to describe a period between what is commonly considered the late 17th century to the early 19th century which covered many interlocking events and developments.

Black Atlantic Linguistic Identity:
A Black Atlantic Linguistic Identity is a term that I am using to argue that there is a time capsule which represents a Black Atlantic born culture, that was centered in the United States, which can be indexed through language. The phonology, syntax, terminology and so on can be traced to multiple language families and traditions, but it is foregrounded in The Long 18th Century and represents a specific kind of cultural development, resistance and assimilation which took place during that time period in the Southern United States. The richly studied Gullah Geechee language is a salient example of this.

The Great Migration
The Great Migration refers to two large population shifts of primarily Black Americans throughout the 20th century of the United States.

Heritage Language
Carmen Fought defines Heritage Language "a language [that makes] makes [the speaker] members of a particular ethnic group" (21). The term Heritage Language is particular important and relevant to my overall project because it puts a focus on the way language is a particular tenant of being a part of certain identities. Some languages are culturally considered Heritage Langauges within in-groups and some are not. However, I posit it is useful to consider certain forms of AAVE a Heritage Language as they relate to a Black Atlantic Linguistic Identity. 

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