• Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters between Black and Red, 1922–1963

    Author(s):
    Pages: 360
    Illustrations: 19 b&w photos
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: New Americanists
    Series Editor(s): Donald  E. Pease
  • Cloth: $99.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2976-3
  • Paperback: $27.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2990-9
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  • Acknowledgments

    Introduction: The Demand for a New Kind of Person: Black Americans and the Soviet Union, 1922-1963

    1. “Not at All God’s White People”: McKay and the Negro in Red

    2. Between Harlem and Harlem: Hughes and the Ways of the Veil

    3. Du Bois, Russia, and the “Refusal to Be ‘White’”

    4. Black Shadows across the Iron Curtain: Robeson’s Stance between Cold War Cultures

    Epilogue: The Only Television Hostess Who Doesn’t Turn Red

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index
  • “A blockbuster study of the Soviet Union’s significance for African American literary and cultural self-fashioning in the twentieth century, researched with an unusually daunting prodigiousness and conceived with a truly geopolitical theoretical intelligence. In attending to questions of travel, of political identities-in-formation, and of subjectivity’s ever-changing subject, Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain locates a dialectic of displacement in which an imaginary and actual elsewhere—in this case none other than post-revolutionary Russia—furnishes a space to rearticulate crucial aspects of social and cultural life at home.”—Eric Lott, author of Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class — N/A

    “A significant book that introduces the Soviet Union to the ‘Black Atlantic’ model of modernism. By examining the works of writers such as Du Bois, McKay, Hughes, and Robeson, the author explains the impact of the Soviet Union on African Americans. This kind of analysis is new—and vital—to literary studies.”—Gerald Horne, author of Class Struggle in Hollywood, 1930-1950: Moguls, Mobsters, Stars, Reds, and Trade Unionists — N/A

    “In Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain, Kate A. Baldwin has presented the hitherto ignored Soviet response to African American intellectuals and cultural workers. This is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to understand the intellectual and political range of African America in the twentieth century.”—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, author of A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present — N/A

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  • Description

    Examining the significant influence of the Soviet Union on the work of four major African American authors—and on twentieth-century American debates about race—Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain remaps black modernism, revealing the importance of the Soviet experience in the formation of a black transnationalism.
    Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, and Paul Robeson each lived or traveled extensively in the Soviet Union between the 1920s and the 1960s, and each reflected on Communism and Soviet life in works that have been largely unavailable, overlooked, or understudied. Kate A. Baldwin takes up these writings, as well as considerable material from Soviet sources—including articles in Pravda and Ogonek, political cartoons, Russian translations of unpublished manuscripts now lost, and mistranslations of major texts—to consider how these writers influenced and were influenced by both Soviet and American culture. Her work demonstrates how the construction of a new Soviet citizen attracted African Americans to the Soviet Union, where they could explore a national identity putatively free of class, gender, and racial biases. While Hughes and McKay later renounced their affiliations with the Soviet Union, Baldwin shows how, in different ways, both Hughes and McKay, as well as Du Bois and Robeson, used their encounters with the U. S. S. R. and Soviet models to rethink the exclusionary practices of citizenship and national belonging in the United States, and to move toward an internationalism that was a dynamic mix of antiracism, anticolonialism, social democracy, and international socialism.
    Recovering what Baldwin terms the "Soviet archive of Black America," this book forces a rereading of some of the most important African American writers and of the transnational circuits of black modernism.

    About The Author(s)

    Kate A. Baldwin is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.

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