By Benjamin Balthaser
Anti-Imperialist Modernism excavates how U.S. cross-border, multi-ethnic anti-imperialist pursuits at mid-century formed what we comprehend as cultural modernism and the ancient interval of the nice melancholy. The booklet demonstrates how U.S. multiethnic cultural hobbies, positioned in political events, small journals, exertions unions, and struggles for racial liberation, helped build a typical feel of overseas cohesion that critiqued principles of nationalism and essentialized racial id. The booklet therefore strikes past bills that experience tended to view the pre-war “Popular entrance” via tropes of nationwide belonging or an abandonment of the cosmopolitanism of prior many years. awesome archival study brings to mild the ways that a transnational imaginative and prescient of modernism and modernity was once shaped via anti-colonial networks of North/South harmony. Chapters learn farmworker photographers in California’s vital valley, a Nez Perce highbrow touring to the Soviet Union, imaginations of the Haitian Revolution, the reminiscence of the U.S.–Mexico struggle, and U.S. radical writers touring to Cuba. The final bankruptcy examines how the chilly conflict foreclosed those routine inside of a nationalist framework, while activists and intellectuals needed to suppress the transnational nature in their pursuits, usually rewriting the cultural prior to comply to a patriotic narrative of nationwide belonging.
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Extra info for Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War
I want you to go home. Go to your committee. Tell them what I said. 3 The Author’s speech suggests an interesting set of epistemological limitations around the nature and purpose of social realism in the 1930s. 4 Central to the Author’s claim of authenticity as a writer is the sensual knowledge of the world about which he writes. To “know” about New Yorkers, the Author goes for a “walk down the street” to “look at a face”: both the interaction and the process of seeing are registered as necessary in order to understand the social and political world of his subject.
For authors like Odets and Herbst as well, such works also crucially interrogate their own racial identities. Odets’s “Cuba play” implicitly criticized the assimilation of Jewish Americans by questioning whether ethnic American dialect—so recognizable a part of the “new American culture” of the 1930s—may be part of the imperial project just as much as weapons or sugar. For Herbst, the last chapter of Rope of Gold is not just a statement of solidarity with Cuban socialists; it is also an excavation of her own family history intertwined with myths of Manifest Destiny.
For Hughes, traveling to Cuba culminates in a process that at once reaffirms his diasporic sense of racial identity—he sees the world through “negro eyes”—yet also destabilizes his faith in American-centered black nationalism. 100 In chapter 2 I consider how the large volume of texts in the 1930s and 1940s on the Haitian Revolution and the global protests over the imprisonment of Haitian novelist Jacques Roumain became a way to reorient, literally and figuratively, a modernist aesthetic that was formed on the backs of African bodies.