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Afro-Orientalism written by Bill V. Mullen


Afro-Orientalism written by Bill V. Mullen


As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay "The World Problem of the Color Line," W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois's challenge.Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said's Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism-including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho-and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to reimagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent. Bill V. Mullen is professor of English at the University of Texas, San Antonio, as well as the author of Popular Fronts: Chicago and African-American Cultural Politics, 1935-1946, coeditor of Radical Revisions: Reading 1930s Culture, and the editor of Revolutionary Tales: African American Women's Short Stories from the First Story to the Present.


Richard Wright gave voice to being an "outsider." That and his opposition to post-1945 colonialism led to his own exile. Fred Ho's African and Asian themes in music and activism simultaneously reflect both cultures. Grace Lee and James Boggs turned their individual cultures and politics into a powerful partnership. Denying the exclusive nature of race asserted by Said, Mullen (English, U. of Texas, San Antonio) examines political solidarity between Americans of African and Asian descent, finding experiencing the same racism often resulted in the same brand of politics. He traces the influence of Dubois's "The World problem of the Color Line" and the pivotal Bandung Conference of 1955 and the results, such as Robert F. Williams's urging Mao to denounce racism is the US and to support black radicals. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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