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Bill V. Mullen
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    As early as 1914, W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces revolutionary thought developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge. Mullen offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to narrow conceptions of ethnic studies, calling on scholars to reimagine their critical enterprises as politically interdependent._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3535-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Afro-Orientalism and Other Tales of Diaspora
    (pp. xi-xliv)

    In his 1941 collaborative photodocumentary12 Million Black Voices,a study of African American migration to Chicago, Richard Wright casts himself as a participant observer in this memorial description of a southern black peasantry he had not so very long ago left behind. Recalling Jim Crow life in rural Mississippi as a persisting nightmare–“as though the Lords of the Land had waved a magic wand and cast a spell upon us, a spell from which we cannot awaken”–Wright recounts moments of abjection and reverie expressed in secular songs sung by black families behind closed doors. Some tunes, he...

  5. CHAPTER 1 W. E. B. Du Bois’s Afro-Asian Fantasia
    (pp. 1-42)

    W. E. B. Du Bois dedicated more writing to the subject of Asia than any African American public intellectual before or after him. He visited Asia twice, first in 1936 and again in 1959. The book he described as his “favorite,”Dark Princess, featured an Indian protagonist, Princess Kautilya. His columns, newspaper articles, and essays on Japan, China, and India in theCrisis, thePittsburgh Courier, theChicago Defender, theAryan Path, and other periodicals number more than one hundred. In 1906, only three years after he publishedThe Souls of Black Folk, events in Asia forced Du Bois to...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Limits of Being Outside: Richard Wright’s Anticolonial Turn
    (pp. 43-72)

    Richard Wright was living in New York City when the Fifth Pan-African Congress convened in Manchester, England, in 1945. The congress was the first held since 1927. Its organizing impetus had come from several sources: the approach of the end of World War II and the urgent question of postwar alignments; increasing disillusionment among Pan-Africanists with Soviet Communism and its role in nascent African liberation struggles, particularly on the part of former Comintern member and conference organizer George Padmore; the emergence in the Gold Coast of Kwame Nkrumah, the young, Western-educated socialist revolutionary; the conjoining of labor and national-based liberation...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Transnational Correspondence: Robert F. Williams, Detroit, and the Bandung Era
    (pp. 73-112)

    The special issue ofShijie Wenxue(World Literature) published in Beijing in September 1963 was dedicated to W. E. B.Du Bois. The lyric poet to China, twice a visitor there, had died in August on the eve of the March on Washington. Working quickly, the editors had compiled an extraordinary gathering of writers and writingsin his name. They included Du Bois’s poem “Ghana Calls,” written to commemorate his final exile; Sie Ping-hsin’s “To Mourn for the Death of Dr. W Du Bois”; Margaret Walker’s poem “Sorrowful Land”; and a short story, “The Tokolosh,” by the South African writer Ronald Segal....

  8. CHAPTER 4 “Philosophy Must Be Proletarian”: The Dialectical Humanism of Grace Lee and James Boggs
    (pp. 113-162)

    In June 1940, the month that France fell to the Nazis, twenty-five-year-old Grace Lee, the daughter of first-generation Chinese immigrants in New York City, graduated with her PhD in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. Lee’s graduate work had concentrated in Continental philosophy; her MA exam was on Hegel, and her dissertation a study of the work of George Mead. Upon graduating, Lee faced what she called later “a personal and intellectual crisis.”¹ In 1940, no American university would consider hiring a Chinese American woman philosopher. Equally grave to Lee, ”All my studies up to that time had been in European...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Making Monkey Signify: Fred Ho’s Revolutionary Vision Quest
    (pp. 163-204)

    Afro-Orientalism’s familial relationship to other discourses of liberation is revealed by its fondness for the revolutionary imagination. W. E. B. Du Bois’s midsummer night’s dream of a colored world’s revolution nods affectionately to Communism’s wedding to happy endings. Grace and James Boggs’s dialectical humanism enacts the human potential movement integral to Marxism’s vision of a workers’ paradise. Richard Wright’s ambiguous utopias described inThe Color CurtainandBlack Powerbear the scars of Western modernity’s brute force and the healing hopes of its demise. Robert Williams’s rhetorical transformation of China into a world without police and without race signifies how...

  10. APPENDIX: Fred Ho Discography
    (pp. 205-206)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 207-228)
  12. Index
    (pp. 229-240)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 241-241)