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 ancient interval of the nice melancholy. The publication demonstrates how U.S. multiethnic cultural pursuits, situated in political events, small journals, hard work unions, and struggles for racial liberation, helped build a typical feel of overseas cohesion that critiqued rules of nationalism and essentialized racial id. The ebook therefore strikes past debts 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 learn 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 unity. Chapters learn farmworker photographers in California’s important valley, a Nez Perce highbrow touring to the Soviet Union, imaginations of the Haitian Revolution, the reminiscence of the U.S.–Mexico warfare, and U.S. radical writers touring to Cuba. The final bankruptcy examines how the chilly struggle foreclosed those events inside a nationalist framework, while activists and intellectuals needed to suppress the transnational nature in their pursuits, frequently rewriting the cultural earlier to comply to a patriotic narrative of nationwide belonging.

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Additional resources for Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War

Sample text

If one defines “social modernism” as a “national-­popular” movement, key texts are thus remembered: John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” Dorothea Lange’s FSA photography, and Paul Robeson’s performance of “Ballad for Americans”—­those texts that speak directly to the formation of a new national mythology. The misreading of the Writers’ Congress rejection of Burke—­as antimodernist rather than antinationalist—­unfortunately reproduces one of the more lasting narratives of modernism and the Popular Front, and its most ugly political legacy, its nationalism.

S. financial capital directly or indirectly controls. Part of what has obscured the transnational affiliations of the Popular Front, however, is that Europe was largely displaced as a site of identification. With the bold and crucial exception of Spain, European governments were either fascist or soon to become fascist; intellectual exiles for a change were steaming to New York, Havana, Leningrad, and Los Angeles rather than Berlin, Paris, or Rome. In this sense, the transnational character of the Popular Front was shaped as an identification and solidarity with what would come to be called the third world.

Such images formed a central counterdiscourse to the patriarchal and nationally and racially bound images produced by the Farm Security Administration and Hollywood film studios. And like the play authored by Odets, these images of violated and wounded bodies created a sensational and experimental language to describe transnational affiliations and bodies, linking violence in the United States to colonialism abroad. Rather than read California as part of the American nation, I continue in the following chapter to focus on the way three intellectuals, Emma Tenayuca, Carey McWilliams, and Carlos Bulosan framed the state as imperial space, a site of conflict intersected by transnational flows of capital and labor.

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