Publishing clearinghouse: ‘Americanah’ discussion; new books on ‘Postwar World,’ ‘Tacit Racism,’ ‘African Sacred Spaces’


Book Club: A discussion of “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Noon, July 30 via Zoom. Register here.

Join the African Studies Program in the University Center for International Studies for their first book club. This award-winning novel, which will also be an HBO miniseries, explores the lives of Ifemelu as she moves to the United States to attend university and confronts what it means to be Black, and Obinze who is forced to live in London as an undocumented citizen. The discussion will delve into how the book relates to issues facing our world today.


“In the Shadow of International Law: Secrecy and Regime Change in the Postworld War” (Oxford University Press, 2020) by Michael Poznansky, assistant professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

“In the Shadow of International Law” explores one of the most controversial forms of secret statecraft: the use of covert action to change or overthrow foreign regimes. Drawing from a broad range of cases of US-backed regime change during the Cold War, Michael Poznansky develops a legal theory of covert intervention to explain why leaders sometimes turn to secret methods when toppling foreign governments, rather than using overt tools to accomplish the same objective.


“Tacit Racism” (University of Chicago Press, 2020), co-authored by Waverly Duck, an associate professor in the Dietrich School’s Department of Sociology, and Anne Warfield Rawls, professor of sociology at Bentley University

The University of Chicago Press recently included the book in a list of 11 it has published as a primer on police violence, educational inequity and institutional racism that help readers understand the history and context of racism in the United States. The book lays out the many ways in which racism is coded into the everyday social interactions of Americans. Duck and Rawls argue that these interactions can produce racial inequality, whether the people involved are aware of it or not, and that by overlooking tacit racism in favor of the fiction of a “color-blind” nation, Americans are harming not only our society’s most disadvantaged — but also endangering the society itself. 


African Sacred Spaces: Culture, History and Change” (Lexington Books. 2019), co-edited by BioDun Ogundayo, director of Africana Studies and of Foreign Language at Pitt–Bradford, and an associate professor of French & Comparative Literature; with Julius O. Adekunle of Monmouth University in New Jersey

A collection of analytically written essays on African sacred spaces. The interaction between the past and present points to Africans’ continuing recognition of certain natural phenomena and places as sacred. Western influence, the introduction of Christianity and Islam, as well as modernity have not succeeded in completely obliterating African spirituality and sacred observances, especially as these relate to space in its various iterations.


The University Times welcomes information about new books, journals, plays and musical compositions written or edited by faculty and staff.

Newly published works can be submitted through this link. Please keep the book descriptions short and accessible to a general audience.

Journals should be peer-reviewed. Self-published works will not be accepted. The listings also are restricted to complete works, because individual chapters, articles, works of art and poems would be too numerous.

We’ll also be highlighting some books and book talks with connections to Pitt.

If you have any questions, please contact editor Susan Jones at or 412-648-4294.