By Benjamin Balthaser
Anti-Imperialist Modernism excavates how U.S. cross-border, multi-ethnic anti-imperialist events at mid-century formed what we comprehend as cultural modernism and the old interval of the nice melancholy. The e-book demonstrates how U.S. multiethnic cultural activities, positioned in political events, small journals, exertions unions, and struggles for racial liberation, helped build a typical feel of overseas team spirit that critiqued principles of nationalism and essentialized racial id. The publication hence strikes past money owed that experience tended to view the pre-war “Popular entrance” via tropes of nationwide belonging or an abandonment of the cosmopolitanism of past many years. remarkable archival learn brings to gentle the ways that a transnational imaginative and prescient of modernism and modernity was once formed via anti-colonial networks of North/South cohesion. Chapters study 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 battle, and U.S. radical writers touring to Cuba. The final bankruptcy examines how the chilly conflict foreclosed those activities inside a nationalist framework, whilst activists and intellectuals needed to suppress the transnational nature in their activities, frequently rewriting the cultural previous 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
Proletarian theater, that Cuba loomed large in his imagination—spurring him to write a play, numerous articles, and engage in a speaking tour—suggests a great deal about the prominence of anti-imperialist thought among the “populist” Left. Inspired by Cuba’s long history of antiracist and anti-imperialist movements, Langston Hughes and Josephine Herbst also traveled to Cuba to envision a mestizo America based on egalitarian multiethnic solidarity—Herbst writing about socialist farming collectives on the island, and Hughes collaborating with Nicolás Guillén to formulate a postnationalist radical politics.
R. James’s Mariners which celebrates the international proletariat aboard Moby Dick’s Pequod, Herbst also celebrates the multiracial “castaways” of Cuba’s cooperative sugar plantation, Realingo 18, in a series of articles for the New Masses that later became her novel Rope of Gold. In fictional form, Odets creates a similar multiracial and anti-imperialist army in his unperformed play Law of Flight (“The Cuba Play”), based on revolutionary movements in Cuba. Law of Flight suggests that subjects on the colonial periphery may fulfill the promise of full democracy in a way the 24 • Anti-Imperalist Modernism metropole cannot.
H. 68 While Jameson, Miyoshi, and Said crucially point out that imperialism is constitutive not only of modernity but the modernist literary movement, their crucial theoretical foundation does leave out another possible alternative: that many modernist writers responded to the crisis of representation created by modernity in a very different way, as a mode of self-reflexive critique and even revolutionary aesthetic expression. As one such modernist, Wilson was one of a large number of prominent intellectuals of the “red decade” to take a “turn to the left” in the 1930s, and his American Jitters was seen as his response to the social movements and 20 • Anti-Imperalist Modernism epochal changes of the Depression.
Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War by Benjamin Balthaser